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Antonia doesn’t let past discrimination get her down

Updated: Mar 4

East Ayrshire woman, 25, who has previously faced discrimination in the recruitment process, has all but overcome her confidence issues thanks to the support of our partners – The Wise Group. The Wise Group deliver a part of the Fair Start Scotland service in Kilmarnock.


Why Antonia joined the Fair Start Scotland service


Antonia Smith, who has a mild form of Cerebral Palsy, had been unemployed for some time before joining Fair Start Scotland. She’d had some negative experiences with previous employers and even felt she’d been discriminated against at interviews. Needless to say, her confidence was low, but Antonia decided to take control and seek out support into work.


Despite lacking confidence in her abilities and skills Antonia had no trouble building rapport with The Wise Group team and it was clear she should be working in a people facing role. She wanted to work in retail.


How Fair Start Scotland helped

The team got to work tailoring her support package so that Antonia could achieve her ambition. Her adviser, Gemma Leitch, enrolled Antonia on the ‘Customer Service Academy’ from which she received a nationally recognised qualification in customer service. Antonia also attended courses on food hygiene and conflict management.

Antonia’s commitment was second to none, she attended all sessions and went the extra mile to get the most out of all the courses. And as the confidence built, the applications were sent off and the interviews started to roll in.

Her first interview with a national fashion retailer went well but unfortunately, Antonia wasn’t offered the job (the store shut down a couple of weeks later). However, the feedback spurred her on, building her confidence further and confirming that retail was the sector for her.

Getting the job

Determined Antonia carried on applying for roles and we’re delighted to report that after a work trial with Marks & Starts she’s been added to their re-joiner list and as soon as a vacancy comes up in their Kilmarnock store – she’s got the job.

Antonia’s adviser, Gemma said: “Antonia has achieved many things in her FSS journey – the main ones being confidence and a true sense of personal value. She’s made fantastic headway.”

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