Mirleen was born and raised in Afghanistan. She and her family came to Britain in 2016 as refugees. This was a hugely daunting and frightening time for Mirleen as she embarked on her journey for a new life, in a foreign country, with an unfamiliar language and culture. Mirleen has developed into an impressive young lady who has shown persistence, determination and a hunger for learning despite facing so many challenges. Mirleen has had to overcome significant language barriers, having no formal qualifications and having very low self-confidence. On arrival in Wales she was naturally fearful of the possibility of a very bleak future, with no realistic career options. Despite facing many hurdles, Mirleen’s commitment to self-improvement has allowed her to achieve her career goals and so much more. By taking a practical approach to her learning and self-development, Mirleen is the perfect example of what it takes to succeed, regardless of your background or obstacles. Mirleen has a contagious enthusiasm for life and her consistently positive outlook is truly inspirational to anyone in a similar situation.

After arriving in the UK, Mirleen was keen to embrace her new country and culture and enrolled on an ESOL course at Gower College Swansea to begin learning English. Full of energy and with a zest for life and learning, Mirleen showed total commitment to self-development during her time on the ESOL course, quickly progressing to Level 3, despite her low starting point. She excelled at learning the language. Mirleen’s tutors were in awe of her eagerness to absorb as much information as quickly as possible. Mirleen quickly became an exemplary student: she was keen to keep pushing herself forward and soon showed an interest in gaining employment. As a result, Mirleen was referred to the Better Jobs, Better Futures programme by her tutors and met with one the college Career Coaches, David, who supported her to set goals towards gaining meaningful employment. With David’s support, Mirleen’s ambition was to gain an apprenticeship in Business Administration. This would enable her to gain a Level 2 qualification whilst gaining experience in an administrative setting.

Mirleen worked proactively with one of our Recruitment Consultants, Julie, and together they formulated an action plan so that Mirleen could understand her individual pathway to employment, specifically by investigating the relevant apprenticeship opportunities available to her. Despite being initially unsuccessful at interview, Mirleen remained resolute in her search for work and fully committed to working with David and Julie to improve her interview skills and find the right role for her. Whilst continuing her search for employment, Mirleen volunteered on a daily basis in a local restaurant in order to continue improving her language and customer service skills and to broaden her experience. Mirleen’s ambition shows no limit and she is never complacent: she does everything possible to ensure she is continuously progressing and moving closer towards where she wants to be.

During her time with Better Jobs, Better Futures, Mirleen worked incredibly hard at every task she was given. Her attention to detail has been admirable and a true reflection of her willpower to achieve her career goals. Prior to joining the programme, Mirleen lacked a great deal of self-belief due to past rejections, and so one of her areas of improvement was to improve her interview techniques. Mirleen worked closely with Julie to improve her interview technique, actively listening to useful feedback to help her improve. Despite being nervous and unsure, Mirleen has never given up and has always pushed herself.

Eventually Mirleen’s hard work and persistence was rewarded when she was offered an interview with a lettings agency based in Swansea City Centre. Mirleen immediately impressed the employer and was offered the job on the same day. She will now start her apprenticeship in conjunction with Gower College Swansea and the future looks incredibly bright for this young woman who only two years ago couldn’t speak a word of English and had no formal qualifications or career goals. Every detail of everyday life was a challenge for Mirleen but the transformation in her attitude, outlook and future prospects has been exceptional and a true inspiration to other refugees facing similar challenges.

Mirleen is incredibly well regarded by all of the team at Better Jobs, Better Futures as she is always polite, friendly and kind-hearted to everyone she meets. Her ESOL tutors are hugely complimentary of her attitude towards her learning, with no hurdle or problem too big for her to overcome. Mirleen has shown fantastic drive and commitment to improving herself, her skills and her life regardless of the setbacks she has experienced. Always with a big smile on her face, Mirleen’s transformation is testament to the fact that regardless of your background or the barriers you face, with hard work, determination and a genuine passion for learning and self-improvement, you can overcome the most difficult of challenges.

Mirleen’s words

Working with Gower College and the Better Jobs, Better Futures team has changed my life. Before moving to the UK I could not speak any English. I now have very good English and have just got an apprenticeship in business administration which I am so happy about. I did not believe I could do this well and with Julie’s help I have managed to achieve my goal. My family are very proud of me and I can now help them more as I have my first paid position. I feel very lucky to have had such nice people help me and I am excited for the future.