Ka Yan is a gentle young person. Soon after she started secondary school, she was overwhelmed by the academic pressure and the stress of changing of environment. The stress was so much that one day during a lesson she had difficulty in breathing. She went to hospital for treatment and did return to school after her condition improved, but the stress came back as she restarted school; she was no longer able to fully focus during lessons and later had difficulty even to write. Inevitably her school results affected greatly because of that. School life for her was unhappy and full of frustrations. Her confidence was low and her relationships with others were not fulfilling, she only had few friends at school.

Enhancing employability through YETP
Ka Yan did not do too well in the HKDSE, so her school suggested her taking the diploma course in the Shine Skills Centre. After obtaining her diploma, she found a design related job, but quitted only after one week because she was unable to adapt to the working environment and the pressure of facing clients. This experience made her re-evaluate her options, but due to her introvert personality, anxiety and failed experiences, her confidence dropped to a point that she thought there was not much to hope for in her future.

Ka Yan met a social worker from The Salvation Army, who brought the Youth Employment and Training Programme (YETP) into view for her. She enrolled in the programme as one of the trainees, hoping this could bring positive momentum into her life and allow her to once again set direction for her life. At the beginning of the programme, social workers provided her information and advice regarding various career fields, guiding her to better understand herself and helping her to unearth her abilities and strengths.

Later, through YETP Ka Yan obtained a training opportunity at The Salvation Army Education and Development Centre. During the one-month workplace attachment training, Ka Yan was responsible for the clerical work for her unit. This training has allowed her to regain assurance on her working ability. With the support of social workers and her workplace mentor, her communication skills and confidence improved, and her employability enhanced.

Another setback in workplace
After the workplace attachment training, the Centre referred Ka Yan to a tutorial school for the post of student service assistant. She was doing well in her first year and received good reviews from her superior. Sadly, her job duties changed and her workload increased after her direct superior left, and she was again overwhelmed by the pressure and started questioning her working ability. She resigned from the job soon afterwards.

Losing confidence, Ka Yan decided to join the YETP again and sought help from social workers and the programme. Through meetings and consultations, she understood that as an anxiety-prone person it may be difficult for her to handle high-paced or demanding jobs in the market, and NGOs or more caring job environments will be more suitable for her. About the same time, the Career Kick-start Employment Project of the YETP started to accept applications, and with the encouragement of social workers Ka Yan joined the Project and started her one-year on-the-job training in The Salvation Army Tai Wo Hau Centre for Senior Citizens as an activity assistant trainee.

Gearing up to restart
In the beginning, despite there being only a relatively short time for Ka Yan to adapt and learn about the job, she has successfully made it through. Her performance exceeded the expectations of her colleagues and impressed the on-the-job training instructor and the unit supervisor. Ka Yan recalled that her colleagues looked out for her all the time and taught her the skills she needed for the job with great patience. She has now completely adapted the environment and can fully handle the job duties. The recognition of her work from her superior gives her courage to try working independently and handling more complicated duties. She has developed a more active and committing attitude throughout this one-year working period, and this positive experience increased her confidence in developing a career in NGOs.

After finishing the one-year Career Kick-start Employment Project, Ka Yan applied the post of activity assistant of Tai Wo Hau Centre for Senior Citizens through open recruitment. She successfully got the offer in May 2021 and has been working there since then. In April 2021, she was nominated by The Army for the YETP Most Improved Trainee (MIT) Awards organised by the Labour Department. After an intensive series of vetting and interviews, Ka Yan was selected in July as one of the awardees of the MIT Awards, with The Army being awarded with the titles of “Youth Training Body” and “Caring Employer” on the same occasion.

Hoping to upgrade herself continuously, Ka Yan is now attending the certification course of Japan Pasterior-Sho instruction. She wants to bring the knowledges and skills she has learnt to the elderly in the Centre and is now diligently working towards her goals.

More stories: https://salvationarmy.org.hk/information-centre/publications/army-scene/