After overcoming mental health challenges and a disrupted education, Olivia is now thriving as a Healthcare support worker for the NHS – working in the same ward that her mum had previously been admitted to.
Olivia experienced significant mental and physical health challenges while she was at school which meant that she often missed classes as she was too unwell to attend. She struggled with juggling medical appointments, exams and awaiting surgery.
With her confidence low and not getting the support she needed from her school, Olivia decided to leave education early to focus on her health and ended up having Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help with her anxiety and depression. Although it took her a while to get better, she began to look at things in a more positive way.
She said: “School was quite a difficult time for me, I had health conditions that weren’t under control and awaiting major surgery on my jaw. I decided to leave school early to focus on my health and I then realised I may never be able to go to university or college due to my grades and although I was upset, I accepted it. But with the support from my family and friends I started to look at life in a more positive light. I don’t struggle as bad as I did before, but I do know if I do, I have my family, friends and my work family, who since the beginning have shown me nothing but unconditional support.”
Olivia worked part-time in a children’s activity/play centre and continued to support and help in the family home due to her mum’s illness.
After seeing an advert for a Prince’s Trust course run in partnership with NHS Scotland and Dundee & Angus College to support young people to gain the skills and experience needed to work in the NHS, Olivia decided to apply. She was successful in gaining a plan and completed the six-week programme of training.
Olivia quickly flourished, especially during her placement on a Gastroenterology ward. After completing the programme, she secured a job as a Healthcare Support Worker in the same Haematology Ward that her mum had previously been admitted to.
Olivia has now been in the role for almost a year and was recently given approval by her Senior Charge Nurse to progress onto the Nursing programme which will Olivia to become a Nurse through a vocational route, rather than an academic one. After successfully applying, she is now about to start an HNC Care and Administrative Practice Programme which will allow her to enter 2nd year of university afterwards.
She added: “My mum had been ill for a while and received her diagnosis just over a year ago. That had an impact on me and my family as we had already lost our dad to cancer. It was a shock to all of us, but we were able to support one another.
“I’m really excited to start my Nursing studies, I never thought I would have so many options or a future with my dream career. I have so many forms of support around me, and I would not be where I am if it weren’t for The Trust, Dundee and Angus College or the NHS.”