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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. 


Gloucester | Inclusion

In the past Chelle had found it difficult to find meaningful employment and felt like she needed to hide her Asperger’s condition from employers. This, alongside a history of poor mental health, made it hard for Chelle to find a stable job.

On joining the GEM Project, Emily from Inclusion Gloucestershire became Chelle’s Navigator Developer and was able to help Chelle find her confidence and get her back to employment. Through attending numerous GEM Online sessions and extensive one-to-one support from Emily, they were able to make real progress. Chelle was able to update her CV and attend mock interviews, which really helped her during the real interview process, and she received multiple job offers.

The GEM Online sessions were very helpful, encouraging and good for building confidence.

Emily was able to secure funding from the GEM Project which was used for a COSHH Training and Level 2 Food Hygiene Certificate. Passing this course and receiving the help from Emily and GEM has given a huge boost to Chelle’s confidence and self-esteem. In May 2021 Chelle accepted a job with Inclusion Gloucestershire as an Expert by Experience (Autism) in the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training Team. Her role is to help train NHS Clinicians on how to communicate more effectively with Autistic patients and members of the community.

Since her journey with the GEM Project, Chelle has now started a second job as a trainee dental nurse. She plans to do more online training and would like to complete a Level 2 Certificate in Cleaning Knowledge and Skills with Stroud College.

I am delighted to have started two new jobs and an opportunity to learn lots of new skills. I would recommend the GEM Project to others – they do an excellent job.


Cheltenham | CCP

Mark had been working in construction for 25 years, doing everything from bricklayer to labourer to site management. During this period, he had been also looking after his wife who had been ill for some time. Sadly, Mark eventually had to stop work to care for his wife full-time until she passed away.

After hitting what he thought was rock bottom, Mark made the decision to contact the NHS for help, who referred him to the GEM Project. Sam Henson from CCP became his GEM Navigator Developer and was able to talk to Mark about steps to getting back into work, as well as providing moral support.

Sam really did pick me up and was dedicated to helping.

Mark knew he needed to refresh his qualifications to get back into construction site management, a job he knew and loved, and through the GEM Project Sam was able to access the funding to make this possible. Mark worked hard and achieved top marks to achieve his CSCS card and SMSTS training.

GEM really has turned it around for me and things are on the up, I am in a much better place.

Through his GEM journey with Sam, Mark has passed and received the courses needed to get back into work, he has a newfound confidence and is taking better care of his health. He has also been lucky enough to find someone new in his life to share his goals with and to celebrate his new job. Mark was able to land himself a position with Snape Construction as a Construction Site Manager, starting with a big project to refit college dormitories over the summer holidays. Mark recommends the GEM Project to anyone that needs support to get back into work. Mark would like to thank his daughters, Carmel, Leeanne and Yazmine for their continued support and love throughout his journey. 

When you think all is lost and you’re at rock bottom, you’re not, contact GEM and they can help.


Cheltenham | CCP

Aamna had been unemployed and a full time Mum since 2011. In 2019, she suddenly and tragically lost her best friend of 20 years which aggravated her depression and she sought counselling.

She had already been diagnosed with various mental and physical health issues and was currently taking anti-depressant medication but the impact of losing her best friend made Aamna spiral further into anxiety and depression.
As time passed, Aamna started to feel a little bit more ready to try and find herself again and look at finding work so was recommended the GEM Project by a family member and met her Navigator Developer Sam.

"I was hoping to get back into an admin-based role which is what I used to do before becoming a Mum. My Navigator Developer Sam understood my personality and interests, as well as my goals and aspirations, straight away, so there was an immediate rapport"

Working with Sam, Aamna’s initial plan was to rebuild her confidence which would then help her to embark on her job searching journey. She has been taking part in various GEMonline sessions including Journaling for Positivity and Decision Making and Assertiveness, both helping her anxiety and wellbeing. She has also been working with Sam to help build her CV and interview techniques and is currently studying a Principles of Business administration course to help her refresh her skills and knowledge.

Aamna’s hard work has really paid off, she had an interview to become a volunteer for Cruse Bereavement, an important cause Aamna was determined to give back to after receiving help from them in the past few years, plus she has also recently celebrated securing employment in an administration role, mission accomplished!

"I would never have been able to begin my employment journey without GEM. The GEMonline sessions have been incredibly inspiring and practically useful, allowing me to focus on remaining calm in any situation. I will take with me everything I have learned and put it to use in my new job when I start. GEM has made a massive impact to my life, people have already noticed the difference in me and that’s what GEM has helped me achieve"


Gloucester | Together In Matson

Before joining GEM Shannon had completed some volunteering work but had never really had a real job.

“I felt I was really lacking in confidence and needed some guidance to either find a training or employment opportunity.”

Working with her Navigator Developer Laura, they both began working on Shannon’s confidence, putting herself first, looking at her potential options moving forward and not letting her past affect her future.

Laura supported Shannon with building her CV and she took part in various GEMonline sessions including mock interviews and CV skills to help build her confidence further. Laura also helped her find a volunteering role and GEM funded a bike so that Shannon was able to get there. These steps have now led to Shannon being offered a paid position as a domiciliary care worker.

“One of the highlights of my GEM journey was when I was bought a bike which enabled me to do a volunteering position. I would definitely recommend GEM, my Navigator Developer was really helpful and gave me the push that I needed. I now earn my own money and have my independence and confidence back.”


Gloucester | Forwards

Susan decided to sign up to the GEM Project as she had been the sole carer for her mother for the past ten years and was currently supporting her grandchild who has autism. She had a wealth of skills and experience, with previously owning her own business along with volunteering experience with CAB, but felt she had no self-confidence, was anxious towards the thought of IT platforms and was confused about which direction to head in the employment field.

Together with her Navigator Developer Michaela, Susan started looking at what skills and experience she had acquired over the last ten years and then began to link her transferable skills to areas of work that would best suit her.

After agreeing to explore customer facing positions, Susan and Michaela looked at various roles including library and support worker positions. After spending time together through Zoom building Susan’s confidence and practicing interview scenarios, Susan was successful with her application and after a positive interview was offered a support worker role.  

“Although this experience has been a massive change to my everyday life and very challenging in some aspects, particularly around using IT, the support from Michaela and help I have received has made this one of the most enjoyable, positive experiences I have encountered. I would not have gained employment if it wasn’t for Michaela’s support.”

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