Support from Cedar Helps Marie Secure Employment

Monday 09 April 2018

The Cedar Foundation has supported another participant on it’s Inclusion Works programme to undertake training and move into work. Despite a diagnosis of Osteoarthritis and family responsibilities to consider, Marie has worked hard to return to employment but it was a dream she wasn’t always sure she would realise. Now, poised to take on the new opportunity of working in a nursery school she tells us her story.

Speaking about her circumstances before joining Cedar, Marie said: “I was a homemaker/Mum and had a diagnosis of osteoarthritis. I always wanted to return to work after having my family, but I had two children with special needs, so it was not that easy for us. My son has autism and moderate learning difficulties, so I needed to be there for him.”

In March 2016 Marie joined The Cedar Foundation Inclusion Works programme. Working closely with Case Officer Stephen Murdie, Marie enrolled for a Level 2 Teaching Assistant Certificate course which she was able to do at home. Stephen facilitated a three-month placement in Fleming Fulton Special School. Marie stated, “I wanted to become a SEN teaching assistant as I had a bit of knowledge from my personal experience. This is when I knew I had found my niche – Thank-you Stephen.”

Marie continued: “Ultimately, I wanted to broaden my experience further so with the help of my current Case Officer Maria Daly we contacted SENSE Nursery which is an organisation for Children with complex Sensory difficulties this is a specialist day provision for children aged 0-4 years who have special needs or disabilities. I was placed there for three months and I loved working with the babies and toddlers and gained invaluable experience.”

Marie wanted to improve her qualifications further, so Maria helped her enrol in a Level 3 Teaching Assistant Diploma Course online and with on-going support Marie completed this in December 2017.

A placement began in Thornfield House Special School and Marie enjoyed the post immensely.  She further completed an OCR Digital Employability Course through Cedar saying, “This has improved my confidence using computers, thank you Joe Cash for being a very patient tutor.”

Marie subsequently attended an interview in March 2018 and secured the post of a General Assistant working one to one with a child in nursery school.

“I will officially start my job after Easter holidays. I am over the moon.” She continued, “I have had amazing support from Maria my Case Officer. She has gone above and beyond the call of duty for me and I owe her so much. This is an amazing organisation with dedicated staff and shows with the right support like I had you can achieve your goals. I cannot thank Maria enough she has been a tower of strength to me and will always be grateful!

Inclusion Works is funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and also all five local Health and Social Care Trusts.  It supports adults throughout Northern Ireland, who have a disability to get ready for work, training, and social activities.  It is available to those 16+ who have a physical or sensory disability, brain injury, diagnosis of ASD or a long-term health condition.  When people leave this service they move on to paid work, volunteering, further/higher education, training programmes and community activities in their local area. If you would like to find out more about this service please visit: You can also follow us on Facebook & Twitter.



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