My name is Carleena, I’ve had a pretty amazing journey to get to where I am now. There have been some tough times, really rough, and now some good times. People used to think I was very shy, but actually I didn’t want to have to talk to people, it was hard to trust anyone.

I’ve been living in my own flat for a while now and I love it. I have friends and I choose when I want to be around people. That’s important to me. About a year ago I got a chance to work as an office cleaner. It was alright, I was good at it but I wanted to do something more than that. Then I tried helping out doing some office work at ubu which really boosted my confidence and I began to think “You know what, I can do this!” So I went to college to get qualifications in Maths and English.

I heard about an office in Harrogate that does financial auditing for big companies. They were looking for someone to work as their admin person, keeping things running smoothly. I went with someone from ubu, to visit their office for a chat with Louise about what they needed doing. I was a bit nervous, but since I had experience answering the phone, and had developed skills like using computers and using photocopiers I knew I had some useful skills to offer them. I talked about myself so they understood who I am and what I want to do. Louise said she thought that I was just the person they were looking for. I was made up.

Their office is pretty posh and I thought “I’m going to need to look smart and professional, if I’m going to work here”. So I decided to go out and find something to wear that I feel good in and would be right for work. Louise sent me all the information about the job and I got a contract from their Head Office in London. I had to get references and read all the policies and procedures in their staff handbook. A ubu enabler helped me with checking and understanding it all. I signed all the forms and sent them back.

On my first day, Louise met me to show me around and explain what my job was all about and to meet the people I would be working with. It was a big day. Now I have my own desk, a phone and a computer, a key fob to get in and out, and lots of responsibility. I’m doing all kinds of office support jobs, opening mail and getting it to the right people, shredding stuff that is confidential, scanning documents, really using all the experience I’ve built up. I’m loving it.

In the past I could never have imagined feeling comfortable around the kind of people I work with now. That’s changed, I do something that actually is good, and people treat me as I should be treated. It’s proper respect, that’s all I ever wanted.