After the pandemic hit in March 2020, Charlotte was very anxious, and without a job she felt like things would not get better, but after taking part in a course with The Prince’s Trust, she was able to regain her confidence again and secure a job in retail.

Charlotte, 19, from Newcastle, was enjoying her Equine Management Diploma at college when lockdown hit in March. With just three months left, her practical course was suddenly moved online to be completed at home.

Working at Gap is like being in a family, they are a real support system. I had been struggling with my mental health and the whole team were so accommodating and tried to help as much as they could. Which made me feel at ease and that I could work well. 

"I’m so pleased that my contract was extended, and to continue to working at Gap. I’m really grateful for this whole experience, my confidence would not be where it is without this. It would have taken me longer to find work, find a team and become the confident person I am without it.

"It was strange not being able to do the practical things I excel at. I couldn’t see a future at this point. I passed my course, but I was very down and I didn’t think things would get better.

During and after the first lockdown my anxiety was the worst. I didn’t want to go outside by myself, because I was very anxious about people and the virus.

After Charlotte finished college she applied for Universal Credit. She was recommended a programme with The Prince’s Trust - Get into Retail with Gap, which she took part in in October.

"I personally enjoyed the course being online because I was too anxious to get a bus, so being able to turn my camera and microphone on at my own pace was comforting.

"We learnt about how to interview well and went over video interview basics. I gained some friends from the course and improved my public speaking skills."

Charlotte was interviewed for a retail job at the end of the course.

"It was the first interview I’d ever done, and it was more relaxed than I was expecting. I was ecstatic to get the job and really proud of myself.

"It felt good to be working, like I was finally an adult with responsibility. I’ve still got quite a bit of anxiety, but that’s levelling out through work because, although I have to get public transport, when I enjoy something and want to do it, I’ll do anything to get there.

If you’re being offered help, take it. Whether that’s for your mental health, for a job or for your skills - and if you keep being turned down for jobs, know that this isn’t forever.