“I recently completed an Agored in Mental Health, which has helped me a lot with my anxiety. I’ve now even bought a bike to help me get outdoors more.”

I joined the Step into Education in July last year. At the time, I’d left college because I felt too anxious about meeting new people. Things were also a bit unsettled for me at the time. I wasn’t living with a parent or guardian and had no place to call my home, which was a bit upsetting.

I had been living with my grandparents but they both passed away just before I turned 18 and I couldn’t stay in the house alone, so I moved between relatives for six or seven months.

I became very anxious last year because of the pandemic. It was all a bit too much for me and I preferred to stay indoors than to go out. After a while things settled down and I felt calmer. Careers Wales referred me to Step into Education so I could get back into education.

The first day I went to meet my tutor, Anna, in the Step into Education centre I felt so nervous. My hands were sweating and I was shaking but once I got to know her I was fine. She made me feel comfortable because she said she understands how to support people with anxiety, like me.

Going to Step into Education has helped me a lot. It was a big challenge for me because of my fear of meeting new people but the more I’ve attended the better I’ve felt.

I’ve learnt some really interesting things and now have about 6 or 7 Agored’s. I can’t remember them all but I have one around improving confidence, another in health and safety and one around our environment. I feel proud that I’ve been able to achieve so much between going into centre and studying online.

I think Step into Education has been better for me because I’m able to have extra help from Anna if I need it. In school or college, you have about 30 people in a class and that’s too big. I can also take a break if I need to and get a cup of tea and some food.

Before I started working with Anna, I was quite quiet but now I would happily talk to someone new if they came into class. I have also just started counselling recently because I’ve learnt that it is ok to talk about my mental health now. I’ve even bought a bike so I can get outdoors more.

Anna helped me apply for a few jobs recently, which I appreciated. I’d like to go into caring for the elderly one day because I think I’m a very caring person so it would be a good choice for me. It’s nice to be thinking positively about my future now.