Aftab’s story: From unemployed with no confidence to renewed purpose and independence

Aftab Sheikh faced a prolonged period of unemployment due to his limited English and digital skills. After finding digital support from EASA, he is now motivated, more confident and independent.

Aftab Sheikh is a learner at EASA who faced a prolonged period of unemployment due to his limited proficiency in English and restricted digital skills. 

Lacking confidence, employment, skills…

Aftab had initially worked in a textiles mill. However, due to mill closures, he lost his job and struggled to find another. Being in a prolonged period of unemployment, he fell into the category of long-term unemployed and low-skilled. 

Because he had low digital skills and minimal familiarity with digital tools, his job search was even more difficult – he struggled to navigate online job resources and basic digital tasks.

As a result, his self-confidence and independence were eroded, severely impeding his motivation and belief in his employability. Aftab was heavily reliant on external support, underscoring the necessity to cultivate his self-sufficiency in various aspects of daily life.

Finding his motivation…

Aftab initially attended sessions at EASA to kickstart his digital skills development and journey towards employment. His primary motivation was to find work and improve his financial situation. 

In these sessions, Aftab demonstrated the ability to navigate the basics of his smartphone, so this was built on so he could eventually develop means of searching for jobs and communicating digitally. Trained volunteers provided one-on-one support to Aftab, helping him build his confidence in his digital skills. This personalised attention proved pivotal in his learning journey.

Aftab learned the fundamentals of staying safe online and navigating searching for a job online via Learn My Way. For the first time, Aftab successfully uploaded his CV on platforms like Indeed and Monster after creating an account. It was a significant leap in his digital proficiency. 

Buoyed by his improved confidence, Aftab felt empowered to embark on the Functional Digital Skills course at entry level 3 at a local college. This marked a significant step forward in his digital proficiency.

Feeling a renewed sense of purpose…

Aftab now exudes a greater sense of self-assuredness, taking more initiative in his job search and daily activities. He demonstrates a newfound independence in various aspects of his life. For example, his progress in English language has allowed him to engage more fluently in interviews and in workplace scenarios, as well as society. He can now effectively price compare online, book doctor’s appointments, and conduct more nuanced internet searches.

Aftab is currently in the process of setting up his own venture, focusing on selling South Asian men’s clothing online, which aligns with his passion and interests. 

Statement by Aftab (interpreted from Urdu): 

“I struggled with many aspects of finding work and one of the main areas was my low digital skills. Without this support I feel I would have not progressed to what I want to do.”