'Working has improved my confidence"

Patient EH has just left St Andrew’s after being in our care for over two years. Diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, the 21 year-old made fantastic progress and really got involved in projects across the charity.

Before being discharged, EH volunteered in our on-site hairdressers, undertaking a structured work placement. She worked alongside members of staff and patients who visit the salon for haircuts and treatments. Here she shares with us her thoughts about the placement, and how it helped her gain confidence and many transferable skills - including customer service, hair techniques, health and safety in the workplace and much more...

Q: How did you find out about the work placement? 

"The hairdressing team mentioned that they offer work placements while I was having my haircut once. It was easy to apply for, and I had an interview and everything. I was nervous to start with because I didn’t know what to expect, but they made me feel very comfortable."

Q: What kind of tasks have you carried out in this role?

"Everything! From shampooing, conditioning and blow-drying, ordering stock, answering the phone and taking appointments, folding towels, practicing styles and braiding, keeping the area clean and learning about health and safety."

Q:  How have you developed since starting your placement? 

"Definitely my confidence! I started off with admin and ended up learning how to shampoo, condition, wash and blow-dry customers' hair... I even got to wash and straighten my Occupational Therapist’s hair! Before I started there was no way I would even pick up the phone, but by week five I learnt how to answer the phone and book in appointments.  I feel so much more confident and more independent."

Q: What have you enjoyed about the role? 

"I love that I was given the opportunity to do something I actually enjoy. I feel like I have grown as a person. The hairdressing team were supportive the whole time and have trusted me to get on with the tasks. I’ve also gained an AQA in Hair and Beauty (Unit 1). "

Q: What are your next steps? 

"Now I’ve being discharged I would like to continue to volunteer at St Andrew’s, as I would like to learn about foils and colouring hair. I would also like to take part in St Andrew’s Employability Programme to help with my CV and help prepare me for working in the community. I’m really looking forward to the future and moving forwards."

St Andrew’s arranges work placements – both internally and externally – for patients and service users. If you would like more information or to arrange a placement, visit our Employment Support page and get in touch with one of the team