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Edinburgh-based financial services worker Sammie Armitage is one of thousands of care experienced young people in Scotland. 

The 24-year-old recently celebrated her first anniversary working as part of Standard Life’s customer relationship team. 

Sammie was in care from the age of 13 and was referred to Skills Development Scotland (SDS) career services by her throughcare worker three years later. That’s when she met careers adviser Joanne Holmes in SDS’s Shandwick Place centre. 

“I knew when I met Joanne that I could trust her. When you’ve been in care, you get good at that kind of thing. I could see she was so genuine, she wanted to help, that she really cared and that really helped me,” said Sammie.

She felt able to access the SDS services in a way that suited her, be that drop-in to use the centre resources, appointments arranged by her support worker to have some in-depth discussions with an adviser, meetings with an SDS partner organisation and activity drop-ins targeted at care leavers. 

After lots of temporary jobs in the hospitality industry Sammie saw a customer operations representative job opportunity with Standard Life. Due to the type of work in the financial service sector, the application process was long and involved a lot of commitment and effort for Sammie. She was given lots of support by Joanne. 

“When I got the job, I didn’t mind how long or how stressful it had been, because I knew I wouldn’t have gotten to where I wanted to be otherwise,” explained Sammie.

“Sammie has worked very hard to overcome self-doubt and bounce back from negative experiences, focussing instead on what she has learned, then moving on."

Joanne Holmes, careers adviser

Since joining Standard Life Sammie has been promoted and is a Security Champion and a Digital Champion for the global investment company. "The team I work with is like a big family and our management show they really care about people," she said.

 

Joanne believes Sammie's ambition and drive to achieve her professional and personal goals has never wavered. She said: "Sammie has always had a long-term view that she wanted things to change, but faced barriers including housing and health issues.

Sammie has worked very hard to overcome self-doubt and bounce back from negative experiences, focussing instead on what she has learned, then moving on. She showed resilience from the start and built on this with encouragement from trusted advisers. 

Joanne added: By taking a consistently supportive and open approach with her, we have achieved this trust. The ability to listen was important and Sammie appreciated having advisers who were available, approachable, non-judgemental and could also provide practical support.” 

Sammie has been in touch with SDS recently to discuss in-work support and further training options. 

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