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Success Stories

This section provides the chance to read about real individuals and their unique journey in how the GEM Project has helped them to move closer towards employment.

The GEM Project is jointly funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and European Social Fund. 


Cheltenham | CCP

Colin has always had problems with his reading skills, which unfortunately contributed to him losing his previous employment position. Also, due to a bad break up, Colin’s mental health took a decline; he shut himself away and this really impacted his wellbeing. When joining the GEM Project, Colin was partnered with Sam from CCP. Being able to confide in Sam and talk about his mental health made a massive positive difference to Colin’s life and helped him to rebuild his confidence.

The support he gave me made me confident to do what I am doing now. I never thought I would be reading like I am now.

Sam was able to suggest Read Easy, a project that offers confidential 1-1 support and reading coaching. Colin has flown through each reading level, and with their support has achieved his first ever qualification in Health and Social care. Now Colin is working for Fair Care; he started his employment journey as a driver and providing general help. He has now since progressed with his career and is a carer for Fair Care, looking after an individual with a brain injury.

I am really enjoying my job and my employment journey, Before GEM I was lost, GEM and Sam helped me find my path to where I want to be in life.


Gloucester | GDA

Kim made the decision to leave her previous role in pursuit of a new career. Due to being deaf, she experienced multiple communication barriers when it came to looking and applying for new jobs.

This prompted Kim to join the GEM Project, where she was supported by Kate from GDA. Kate was able to support her with 1-1 sessions and helped Kim in the right direction to find new employment. She also helped Kim attend Gloucestershire College where she was able to improve her computer skills. With the help and support from Kate and the GEM Project, Kim was able to get a new job as a BSL Tutor with GDA where she is able to teach British Sign Language to students.

Kim would definitely recommend the GEM Project, as this has given her the confidence to change her career into something she is more interested in and finds rewarding. 


Cheltenham | GRCC

Paul had found himself out of work a long period of time which had really put his confidence at a low. Paul had an idea that he wanted to start his own business, but due to his confidence and skill set due to being out of work for so long, believed this wasn’t possible.

When joining the GEM project Paul was matched with our Navigator Developer Dan, from GRCC, who he was able to share his idea of self-employment with. Dan was able to support Paul in multiple ways to help make the idea more of a reality and where to begin. The first step was empowering Paul and getting his confidence back, through the GEM Project’s personalised support and 1-2-1 support with Dan.

Dan was able to help build Paul’s skill set and confidence to meet his goals of starting his own business in cleaning and removals. By doing this, he has been able to access other support such as the Growth Hub and the Start and Grow Enterprise project, which have been a huge confidence boost and way to build his skills to help turn his dream to a reality.

With thanks to Dan at GRCC and the GEM Project, Paul’s dream is now his reality. Paul has been able get his own business up and running and taking on a few small jobs already, including cleaning jobs and some removals.

GEM and my Navigator Developer helped me to take my life forward, I have never had support like this.



Gloucester | CCF

Wanda had moved to Gloucester from Cumbria to live with her family after feeling lonely and suffering with poor mental health. In the meantime, she had been home-schooling her niece as she is a qualified teacher.  Wanda joined GEM to try and find her confidence and get back into the jobs market.

Anna from Cotswold Community First (CCF) was able to help Wanda find her confidence and supported her to achieve her goal of teaching English to speakers of other languages. Through their work Wanda also supported Carole, a Navigator Developer at GL11 Community Hub, with a GEM online course called “Brush up Your English”. This was attended by participants from a range of countries including Syria and the Philippines.

Wanda supported Carole in a number of sessions, and built up the confidence to run some on her own when Carole was on leave. After the course she continued to volunteer and offer 1:1 English conversation sessions on Zoom. Carole was able to secure funding for Wanda so that she could take on a TEFL course, which she was able to complete and pass very quickly and confidently. This created a unique partnership where participants in the GEM Project supported each other in their journeys.

Wanda has now successfully completed her TEFL course and alongside all the support provided by Anna and assistance from other Navigator Developers, has helped her move on and gain employment.


Gloucester | Forwards

Due to the pandemic and the series of lockdowns, Billy was made redundant from a job in which he had personally and professional grown. Like many people, Billy found the pandemic very isolating and wanted to get back into work and hoped the GEM Project would be able to help him.

Billy and his Navigator Developer, Michaela from FORWARDS put together an action plan to review and develop his employment skills and to search for part time work.  Billy had a few setbacks with his health and found some sessions hard to understand due to his learning disability. Yet Billy showed great resilience and determination and kept focused on his goal, to get back into work.

Billy and Michaela applied for several job roles, and he was shortlisted for an interview. To give Billy the best chance of success, Michaela did a couple of mock interviews with Billy which he found beneficial as it covered so many of the questions asked at the actual interview. This was a success and Billy now works at a nightclub in Gloucester and loves his new role. Originally hired as a Covid-19 cleaner has now progressed to a server and pot washer.

The 121 support was the best, I love my new job and feel valued again.

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