A COVENTRY woman has overcome sudden sight loss and serious illness four years ago to start full-time employment following support from an employment project.
Stacey Percival, 25, was studying to become a nurse with Coventry University when she was struck down with a virus that took both her kidneys and nearly all of her vision.
It left her seriously ill and unable to complete her degree.
It was only after a successful transplant with her aunty that she could look at putting her life back together, starting with looking for volunteering and work through Accelerate – a Coventry-based employment project.
Stacey, who is assisted by her guide dog Toffee, said: “The last two years have been very frustrating as it just felt that door after door was closing on me, all due to the fact I only have partial vision.
“You can feel very lonely and it doesn’t take much for you to start losing your confidence, and this impairment has you quickly believing that there really isn’t that much you can still do.
“Receiving a phone call from Action for the Blind introducing me to the Accelerate project changed all that.”
She added: “Little did I know that three months on from that phone call and I would be about to start a full-time job.”
Stacey, who has also been volunteering at a SureStart nursery, has now been employed by global outsource provider Sitel as a customer service advisor at their Coventry Contact Centre.
The £3million Accelerate project, which is part of ‘Building Better Opportunities’ – a programme funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund, is looking to support nearly 900 of Coventry and Warwickshire’s most disadvantaged people to tackle the barriers preventing them from entering work.
It brings together 23 local partners to provide each participant with a single access point to confidence building, work experience and skills enhancement, including training on IT, Literacy, Numeracy and Enterprise.
Stacey was immediately assigned George Bradley as a Journey Guide to provide an initial assessment of her needs, her aspirations and where she would need additional support.
Stacey explained how important Bradley was to her finding a job. She said: “There’s no words to describe the difference George has made, I can’t thank her enough.
“There was lots of practical support, such as writing my CV, helping with interview preparation and just acting as a sounding board if I had a question that was troubling me.”