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025 / Independence

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I am a lone parent with a young child, before I came to City Gateway, I was depressed, lonely and isolated, and didn’t know where to turn to for help. I was new to London, was experiencing housing problems, and had no friends and family in the UK. Other people I knew were going to college, but I had no money for further education and was stuck as I couldn’t afford a child minder for my son.

I had completed a degree in India a few years before, but when I came to the UK I lacked the confidence to work here. I had had no work experience for 5 years, my English level was low, and I feared the unfamiliar environment and unknown expectations.

Then one of my friends told me about City Gateway, where I could attend courses for free, and where there was a free crèche during class times. So I went to register with them, and when they asked me which courses I was interested in, I put my name down for everything.

The experience of attending classes enabled me to grow in my confidence, and I really enjoyed the experience of learning again. I no longer felt lonely and isolated, as I had been welcomed in to a community of people who supported and encouraged me. My child was happy in the crèche and I felt more independent knowing that he was being well looked after.

Joining the ESOL project at City Gateway gave me the confidence to start working again. I also began volunteering at the project, mainly on reception. It took me a while to gain the confidence even to pick up the phone, but soon I was calling clients and eventually teaching new volunteers how to make calls. I soon progressed into an apprenticeship with City Gateway.

I am currently working towards an ITQ Apprenticeship at City Gateway, which will finish in December. This includes an NVQ Level 2 in ICT, and Maths and English Functional Skills Training.

Alongside this I will be beginning training for an Association of Accounting Technicians qualification at the London School of Accountancy and Management. My degree in India was in Accounting, but when I came to the UK I gave up my dream of becoming an accountant because the system is so different here. Being at City Gateway gave me the confidence and motivation to realise my dreams, and so 7 years later I am now going back to university to continue my training to become a UK accountant.

The ESOL for Work course not only improved my English, but also gave me the impetus to progress and be more independent. I now feel that I can have a positive attitude to life, and if I work hard and set realistic goals, I can achieve my dreams. I have moved from being dependent on benefits, on City Gateway, and on others, to being able to support myself and my son, and be independent in life. I now have the tools to succeed and achieve my dreams.

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