Mona, from Iran, found herself in a small town in the north of the UK where she spent five years with her husband and their son as asylum seekers.
As asylum seekers are not allowed to work, the combination of a long period of time spent outside of the labour market and differences in practices in her field of work in Iran, made it hard to get back into employment once she had the legal right to work in the UK.
Mona ended up working in a laundry, and between a full-time job and looking after her son she didn’t feel there were many career prospects open to her. When a friend encouraged Mona to apply to do a course with Code Your Future, Mona was nervous and worried about being too old to study something completely new and not having enough time to keep up with the course.
But her perseverance and the encouragement from CYF mentors helped her stick to the programme, graduate and to finally get her first job offer as a developer. Now Mona is a role-model not only for her son who is already making his first steps to learn coding, but for the rest of the family: her husband and her sister have also started to learn to code in their free time.
“I was almost forty, and it was a stressful time full of anxiety, I was thinking: wow, I’m getting really old! And I was asking myself: how can I earn money, how can I be satisfied about my job? I have done a course in design at a university, but I realized it was quite competitive to find a job in this industry with my experience which was quite different to people in this country. In London I couldn’t find job, so I started to work in a laundry. When a friend told me about CYF, I was thinking: was it possible for me with no background in coding to learn coding?
The course was quite challenging. In lots of different days I was feeling old and I thought I would never learn what other students were getting easily. My English wasn’t good enough, I remember when mentors were talking about ‘executing’ a code, I thought execute means to kill someone! And when I started at CYF I was working full-time in the laundry and I have a little boy who needs me. I had a lot to do at home as a mum and as a wife. I had not enough time to do the homework. But in CYF, they pushed me a lot, they didn’t let me give up. And Germán was the most important part of pushing me, he called me constantly to check my progress. I didn’t give up, and I’m so happy now!
Looking for a job was a nightmare. Receiving lots of emails: “unfortunately, we will not go further with your application”. It was a bad feeling and I made it very personal. I was thinking that it was because I wasn’t from this country, or that I wasn’t young, or because of my background. During the time that I was looking for a job I had to take anti-depressants. I was still in contact with CYF through slack, there was a channel “CYF employment”, and I was trying to encourage myself by looking at other students who were getting jobs and those doing interviews, and I felt I wasn’t the only one who struggle to get a job. My personal life was full of challenges, our life was not easy, I had lots of different responsibilities, but finally I got a job, and it means everyone can get a job. There are millions of opportunities. And even after many companies do not hire you, it doesn’t mean you are not good enough, it doesn’t mean that nobody will employ you. Somebody will find you and your uniqueness really interesting.
My life changed a lot. During CYF I met lots of people who have a good job, who are settled, but they would spend all their weekend and all their free time to help and support other people. They are really generous about sharing information. And I’m so happy to be with this kind of people, who are really supportive.”
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