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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

Bekah had been out of work since 2019 and struggling to find employment, despite multiple job application attempts and little feedback. Bekah was referred to us by CCP’s Pantry Project in January 2021.

On joining the GEM Project, Bekah and Sam worked on a 121 basis improving her CV writing and interview skills and completing job applications. Sam also encouraged Bekah to keep her job search focused in areas of interest and relevant to her goals. Bekah said that the interview preparation and skills information really helped to build up her confidence. 

The hard work paid off and Bekah was offered a job with Gloucester City Homes as an Asset Management and Property Developement Assistant. She started her job in April and hasn’t looked back.

Sam encouraged me to apply for something that is YOUR thing.

In September, Bekah will also be going to the University of Essex to study Law. These very impressive steps will no doubt put Bekah on a great path for the future and shows what can be achieved with a little help and a lot of personal determination. Bekah says of the GEM Project:

Sam was very kind. If you engage in the one to ones and do what you need to do, it will work out.


Gloucester | PATA

Amena has always had a passion for education.  She came to the UK from India many years ago. She volunteered at her local school and alongside that, she did Teaching Assistant Qualifications and worked as a lunch time supervisor. Unfortunately, due to Covid 19 her contract was terminated in July 2020. One major barrier Amena faced was obtaining a Biometric Residence Card despite having the legal right to work and live in the UK.

Amena decided to approach PATA in September 2020 in search of work, who referred Amena to Mary, a Navigator Developer for the GEM Project. Mary was able to research and assist Amena how to apply and receive her BRC which was organised just before Christmas 2020. Amena was looking forward to finding work in the Spring term, but unfortunately, the schools closed again to most children in January for a third lockdown. With the help of Mary, Kate, a colleague from PATA, and Sue Guilding from the GEM Project, Amena prepared for interviews for apprenticeships in Early Years. She also attended a course run by GEM Online called Be Seen Be Heard, which really helped to build her confidence to speak in public.

Amena was very active in finding opportunities for herself and applied for an apprenticeship at a nursery Quedgeley.  Although she was not successful, she was offered bank work and started in May.  Amena would like to recommend GEM to anyone who genuinely wants to move on with their life.

I still find it hard to believe that I am working again.  I would like to thank PATA and GEM for all their help.  Mary has been great and I will never forget her, she is a star!


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"

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