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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. 

Jo Tym

Cheltenham | CCP

Our latest GEM Jo shares her story about how she struggled with her own mental health, and now thanks to the GEM Project has gone on to set up her own business in Mental Health Training. 



Gloucester | PATA

Before joining the GEM Project, David had been an HGV driver, with over 37 year’s experience in this industry. He had driven all over the EU and even held a Guinness Book of World Records for driving the longest and widest load.  He also delivered the Thunder Riser, and Thunderbird 2 for the Thunderbird films.


Unfortunately, during 2021, he had a heart attack which subsequently led to him losing his HGV licence in November of that year. With driving being such a massive part of David’s life, this caused severe anxiety and depression.

David wanted to get back into work but was struggling; he was worried that his age would be a concern with being over 50, along with the fact that after being in the same role for so long, changing his job seemed extremely daunting. Ideally, he wanted to keep working in the same industry as he was still able to drive 7.5 tonne vehicles but wasn’t sure how best to approach this. Therefore, his social prescriber suggested to get in touch with the GEM Project.

After several meetings with his Navigator Developer Mary, she helped pull together David’s CV. She identified various transferable skills which could assist David in future roles and supported him with his job searching, including accompanying him to our Inclusivity Works Jobs Fair.

During the Jobs Fair, David met a recruiter from the NHS who encouraged him to apply for a driving position when he is fit enough, or even a transport co-ordinating role. Having such great knowledge about the transport industry, David and his Navigator Developer are currently looking into him completing a Transport Manager qualification to help him move forward with this goal, particularly if his physical health prevents him from driving.


“The GEM Project has been really useful for me; it’s provided me with the opportunity to do other things and opened up avenues that I didn’t even realise existed. It means that despite my knock back and my age, I have the chance to get back into work and build up my qualifications.”


Gloucester | Inclusion

Matthew was out of work and finding his situation quite isolating. Although he had already gained valuable experience in previous voluntary positions, during the pandemic in particular, he found finding work extremely challenging so joined the GEM Project to build his confidence and employability skills to help him find paid work.

On joining GEM, Matthew began working with our Navigator Developer at Inclusion Gloucestershire. He was keen to develop his skills in order to find employment in the hospitality or retail sector, and being autistic, recognised that some additional support would be helpful.

Through the support of GEM, Matthew completed several qualifications to help develop his skillset and improve his chances of securing employment, achieving an FSA Food Allergy and Intolerance Training Certificate, and an ASDAN Employability Skills Development Certificate. He then went on to achieve his Food Hygiene Level 2 Certificate.

In addition, he successfully took up a work experience placement in a café which helped increase his confidence in a hospitality environment, in which he demonstrated his willingness to learn new skills and negotiated situations well in the workplace.  

After his placement he continued to search for work meeting a range of employer’s face to face. GEM further supported him with improving his C.V. and developing his interview skills, in which his readiness was evident in mock interview practice.

His positive attitude, and the skills he had gained as part of his GEM journey, finally paid off when he was offered a job as a Kitchen Porter at Rosado Lounge in Tewkesbury. Matthew was welcomed instantly and offered the job during his interview. He is now part of a supportive, caring and friendly team of people which he enjoys very much.


‘I would definitely recommend the GEM Project, the training programmes have been useful, and the support has been good and there when I needed it.’


Gloucester | GDA

Kat had been attending BSL classes at GDA when she was unfortunately made redundant in December 2021 from her accounting role. She was extremely worried about finding another job due to her increasing hearing loss, after already struggling previously to find suitable work and spending several years looking for an Accounts Assistant role that didn’t involve telephone work.

Kat contacted GDA for advice and was introduced to the GEM Project and her Navigator Developer Kate. Kate worked with Kat in order to help her  overcome her hearing barrier and move back into a working environment. She introduced Kat to a Government package called Access To Work, which provides funding for support in the workplace. With GDA’s Equipment Service, this helped Kat to find the right products to support her in the workplace. 

Kate also helped facilitate practice interviews through GEM to help build Kat's confidence when looking to apply for new roles. These activities helped increase Kat's independence, confidence and motivation, resulting in Kat securing a Finance Assistant role at GDA. 


"I was so surprised to find out how much support was out there, such as ESA, PIP, equipment, and support. I struggled for two years looking for a job without phone work involved. Kate managed to find me a job at GDA, in the right role and the right environment! Without Kate and GEM, I would probably still be stuck at home and struggling. I would definitely tell people to go to GEM if they want help to look for work.”


Gloucester | GARAS

Before life in the UK, Fatima lived in Syria with her husband, where she worked in the Syrian retail markets and helped her husband run a general store. Since moving to the UK she became a full-time mum and wife, but felt she needed to become more involved with her local community, enhance her language skills and build her confidence to help her find work.  

Fatima joined the GEM Project through GARAS and was supported by her Navigator Developer Sarah; providing personalised support to help Fatima develop her skills and confidence to help her learn to apply for jobs and shape her future career path.

After finding a role in a local school, Sarah helped Fatima to apply, as well as supporting her with practice interview training to ensure she was prepared should she be offered an interview.

Sarah is very good, she helped me a lot. I had help everywhere, in applying for job, in my DBS, in practicing for my interview

Fatima was successful in securing the job and has now been working as a Midday Supervisor at her local primary school for over 6 months. Since being in this role, and thanks to the support provided by Sarah, she has felt confident enough to apply for a different position and is now working towards her career dream of becoming a Teaching Assistant, and ultimately a Primary School teacher.

If you want a job, go to Sarah at GEM!

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