Young person in front of office buildings

Nadine's Story: Finding Independence

Nadine (19) was in care for two and half years before returning to her mum's, but living together placed further strain on the relationship and she decided to move into semi-independent living. She received help from Centrepoint Works with key employability skills and has secured an apprenticeship with the organisation.

From care to independence

For two and a half years Nadine lived in care before returning to her mum’s house. However, the relationship between them was strained and when she turned 18, she contacted her social worker to explore the possibility of moving out. 

Her social worker referred her into supported housing with another provider.

Since having her own space, and demonstrating her independence, Nadine has found the relationship with her mum has drastically improved. 

“She wasn’t quite understanding that I am growing up so when I did move out she realised I could do things on my own,” she explains.  “We’ve been able to rebuild our relationship and it’s so much better for us both. Now that I’m working too, she has the confidence that I can do things for myself.”

Support from Centrepoint

Although Nadine didn’t manage to complete college, she was determined to move forward by coming off benefits and securing stable employment. Through online research, she found Centrepoint. She received support from the JET (Jobs, Education and Employment) Team. and her JET worker Asif helped her with key employability skills. 

“He helped with my CV, to apply for jobs and prepare myself for interviews by sending me videos which really made a difference. He also helped me access Smart Works which helped me get some smart things to wear for interviews.”

When an apprenticeship came up in Centrepoint’s Bursary Team, Asif encouraged her to apply and she was successful.

Asif says it could have quite easily have gone the other way for Nadine due to conflicting advice from others involved in her care.

“Nadine had several rejections and was thinking of quitting and going back into full time education, however I encouraged her not to give up – sometimes all young people need is a little motivation and inspiration to reach their goals. When Nadine had the offer of the apprenticeship with Centrepoint she was considering declining it due to advice from her housing association support worker who told her that she shouldn’t take it because she would lose her benefits and struggle to pay her rent. After hearing this from Nadine, I convinced her to reject this advice and provided options and solutions to start the apprenticeship. Nadine’s journey is a good example of how young people’s life journey can be influenced positively or negatively with the advice, guidance and support they receive.”    

Nadine is glad that she took Asif’s advice and took up the position.

“It felt really good to get the job,” Nadine says. “I’d been looking for employment for a while and was struggling to find something and finally I found this opportunity. I was proud of myself and happy because it has good progression pathways.”


Not only does Nadine have the support of her line manager Deborah whilst on the apprenticeship, but she also has the support of the apprenticeship manager, Nick, which means there is always someone that she can go to for support. 

“Nick is always there to help and if I’m stuck on something he’s there to show me,” she reflects. “I’m really lucky to have Deborah as my line manager too. If I’m struggling, she reminds me that I’m an apprentice and a learner, that it’s okay to make mistakes and to take my time. It’s helpful to remember that I’m still learning because coming into a new job can be overwhelming, especially when you’re only 18.”

Nick, the Apprenticeship Manager is extremely positive about Nadine’s progress.

“Nadine has already grown so much in her short time with us so far and displays remarkable resilience. She is always so willing to learn and it is an absolute joy working with her. Nadine has a lot of potential and I know she is keen to work in Finance, possibly as an accountant. I am certain that she will achieve that goal and will be a very successful accountant, if she keeps up the hard work.”

Financial challenges 

To make things easier for Nadine financially following the loss of her housing benefit, Centrepoint have given Nadine access the Centrepoint Bursary. This has enabled her to get a travelcard to get to work which has relieved some of the financial anxiety and allows her to focus on the job and her future.

Despite the financial difficulties, Nadine is keeping focused on her goals.

“I remind myself that this situation is not permanent, that I am waiting to move into my own flat and things will get easier and to keep going. However, if I am in arrears, I don’t get moved on into independence so it’s a bit if a catch 22. I have done a money management course to show that I am doing everything I can, but I can’t go to the housing panel if I am in any arrears. It’s frustrating because I want to work, but that has made my financial situation worse for the time being.”

Aspirations for the future 

Nadine has a clear plan for the future; after she finishes her apprenticeship she hopes to become an accountant. Nick has been helpful in talking through potential opportunities to shadow staff in finance.

“I’m really grateful for the opportunities that Centrepoint provide to help me push my career forward,” she says.

Nadine’s advice to young people in similar situations is simple.

“Keep going and don’t let you past define your future.”