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Ioana’s story

“I feel more confident than I have ever been.” – Ioana, Passage Client


Ioana migrated to the UK in 2019 with hopes to find employment and a life for her family. Like many other people that come to London seeking opportunities, there were very few, and she was forced to sleep rough for over two years. In that time, she was helped to obtain her right to work from a support charity but was not successful at finding stable employment or accommodation.

The experience of sleeping rough for so long meant that Ioana turned to substances and fell into addiction. However, she eventually managed to overcome this and in October 2022 was placed in temporary accommodation and referred to The Passage’s Employment Service.

Ioana's Story Cover Image

The Passage’s Employment Coach supported Ioana to explore different work opportunities in hospitality. She also helped Ioana to understand what formal employment means and what her workplace expectations should be. Ioana attended her first job interview in hospitality a few weeks later and was offered the role. Unfortunately, it was not quite right for her, and she left after two weeks. The Passage’s Employment Service is focused on obtaining long term and sustainable careers, not just jobs, so Ioana returned and the team worked to find something that was a better fit.

Ioana’s Employment Coach suggested the Pret Rising Stars Program and Ioana was happy to give it a try. Ioana successfully passed her interview and attended her first day of work at Pret. She was welcomed with kindness and compassion and afterwards told the team that she had really enjoyed her first day. She has decided to stick with the role and is doing really well – she said she feels the most confident she has ever been.