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Stella’s Story: My journey to Yellow Door and beyond

Posted on 10 July 2024

Stella joined Yellow Door in April 2023 and has been working across our Diversity & Inclusion and Independent Sexual Violence Advisory services for the last 14 months. She has been a real credit to the organisation and a hugely valued member of the team, and here she shares her career story and journey into the charity sector, social care and beyond. 

“Like most people, I didn’t have a career in the social sector mapped out in my mind. I was always naturally drawn to working with people and started my working life as an au pair/nanny, then went onto doing translation and interpreting to utilise my bilingualism. During my time at University, I took on a Support Worker role at a residential children’s home, which was my first introduction to the world of vulnerable people and those with complex needs. I found learning about the different agencies and provisions available to people really interesting.

Then the pandemic struck. My younger sister came up with the idea of setting up a business, and she got me on board. We opened a cake shop in the City Centre, which was a great experience but closed after a year and although unsuccessful, it was a valuable learning curve. It was at this point I had a good think about what I wanted to do next, and working with people was the only thing that I was still strongly passionate about.

I came across Yellow Door and the Diversity & Inclusion Advocate role being advertised and I thought it sounded great. I filled in the application form, and got offered an interview which was where I was introduced to the possible additional role of an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) in the team. I was initially unsure about it as I knew very little about Criminal Justice System, and felt rather under qualified. I was reassured by the recruiting team that my transferable skills were just right for the position. I was successful at the interview and offered a spilt role of Diversity & Inclusion Advocate and Children and Young Persons ISVA. It’s safe to say the opportunity was life changing!

My interpersonal skills were extremely helpful and I have gained an incredible amount of professionalism and practical knowledge at Yellow Door, that I wouldn’t have received anywhere else. Even after a relatively short time at the charity, I started to feel much more confident. Thanks to the support and feedback I received from colleagues and managers, I could see improvements in my abilities on a weekly basis. The quality of work set by everyone in the team was really high, and being surrounded by it encouraged me to keep learning and improving.

Looking to the future, becoming a Social Worker was always in the back of my mind, but it was only after my time at Yellow Door that I felt equipped to seriously consider it. So much so that I decided to jump into the deep end and apply to one of the local fast-track training schemes. It’s a fairly competitive, fully funded programme to train as a mental health social worker. My colleagues and managers at Yellow Door were supportive, and after I was given an interview, they kindly offered to give me tips and to help me prepare. That, along with the practical skills, experience and knowledge I gained at Yellow Door, helped me make a professional impression (because I felt like one!) and lead me to getting an offer and role. The programme is both academic and practical, as at the end of it I’ll be awarded a Master’s Degree in Social Work. It is heavily practice based, so after a few weeks of induction and training, I will take on the role of Care Coordinator at one of Southampton’s Adult’s Mental Health Teams.

I’m really sad to be leaving Yellow Door as the experience I’ve gained here has been pivotal in getting my new role. Client work taught me a lot, but I mostly enjoyed learning from every single team member, so a huge thank you to everyone I’ve worked with. The service you provide is amazing and I hope you’ll never underestimate the difference that you make to local people’s lives.”