Stefania’s Supported Internship

Sometimes help, support and understanding are just what's needed to let a young person really succeed.

Shining in the sun, outside MediaCity's Blue Tower

When she began the Supported Internship programme, Stefania was extremely shy, uncomfortable with making choices and had no confidence in herself or her abilities.

Anxious and unsure of what was to come, her reticence almost kept her from taking part in the programme, but encouragement and engagement from her tutors at The Manchester College and Pure’s Kate Duffy led Stefania to agree to a work placement in catering at Salford University.

Having worked in a catering environment before, Stefania felt that it would be the safe option, doing something she knew, even though she was extremely anxious about the placement.

However, it was Fresher’s Week.

Starting a new placement at the busiest time a university can be, with new students flooding into an unfamiliar environment was understandably overwhelming; everyone was concerned in the first few days that perhaps this wasn’t the right choice for Stefania.

To everyone’s surprise though, and none more so than her own, she began to shine.

We were thrilled that Stefania stuck it out and from this point onward she went from strength to strength. Her confidence increased immensely and she began to form a strong working relationship with her team in the café.

Kate Duffy, Pure Innovations

The busy environment only seemed to lift Stefania as she settled into her role with the Compass Group. Andrea, her manager, began adding to the daily tasks little by little and noticed a real difference in the way in which Stefania conducted herself both with customers and the team.

She showed initiative. She made choices. In stark contrast to her first few days in the placement she came out of her shell, initiated conversations and even bantered with staff.

Weeks later, as her time at Salford University came to an end, Stefania had picked up workplace skills but also an invaluable boost to her confidence.

In the end, we were sorry to see Stefania go; she made a real impact and was a fantastic help at the café.

Andrea, Compass Group

For her second work placement, it was time for something new. Though she struggled with the decision to take a role outside of her experience, it was a massive step forward; something that neither Stefania or her tutors & coaches could have seen coming at the start of the programme.

Because working for Westgrove Group, who hold the cleaning contract for MediaCity, was going to be so far outside Stefania’s comfort zone, Pure’s dedicated Employment Officers worked hard alongside Westgrove Group Account Manager Sami Alfarhan to identify a suitable buddy for her to work alongside.

In January 2017, Stefania began her placement alongside Mags and the pair hit it off straight away.

Celebrating much deserved success with Mags

Mags’ impact on Stefania’s progress can’t be underestimated. The support she gave was invaluable, not just on how to best perform the daily tasks, but in introducing Stefania to her Westgrove colleagues from day one, letting her know that she was part of a real team.

Stefania picked up the duties quickly, realising that she could transfer some of the skills picked up at her first placement to her new role. With the confidence instilled by her success at the University and her camaraderie with Mags, Stefania impressed everyone.

When asked for feedback on Stefania’s progress, Mags even told Sami that if she had her own cleaning company she’d most definitely hire the young woman!

The potential of paid employment saw Stefania relocated to another of MediaCity’s buildings, and while this was once again a change and outside of her comfort zone, she was supported by both the Pure Employment team and a member of the Westgrove team. She gave it her all, really demonstrating her skills and confidence in a placement review.

It feels really good now that I've got a paid job. I feel proud of myself. I'm going shopping for new clothes when I get paid!

Stefania, Supported Intern

Stefania completed a working interview and actually worked the full hours of the job, 4pm-6pm Monday-Friday to see if the role was suitable and give her a fuller picture of what the role would entail.

The support was gradually reduced throughout the placement and everyone was happy to see that Stefania continued to shine on.

Offered a paid contract in May 2017, Stefania accepted!

It's inspiring how Stefania has developed, both in her confidence and the skills she's gained. She's a part of the Westgrove team now, and it's fantastic to see her stand on her own feet and become an independent young woman!

Sami Alfarhan, Stefania's manager

Stories like Stefania’s wouldn’t be possible without Pure’s amazing partners, both in education and business. We’d like to thank all involved in the Lowry Outlet Supported Intern programme, especially:

  • The Manchester College
  • Westgrove Group
  • Peel Media
  • Peel Holdings
  • Compass Group