A 20-YEAR-OLD Ledbury woman who did not have the confidence to speak to strangers and would not use a phone now has a job.

When Chloe Smith started her steps into work supported internship with National Star in Hereford, she preferred to write things down rather than speak.

Miss Smith's learning disability affects her ability to listen, concentrate and speak. She had tried to get a job but without success.

Now she works part-time in the kitchen at the Spread Eagle pub in King Street, Hereford, and loves it.

"My job coach helped me create a CV and helped me practice questions for interviews," she said.

"She helped me keep my placements by reminding me to slow down when I did things and how to plan my bus journey to get there independently.

"Now I can speak to new people without getting worried. I am much better at dealing with problems, such as bus not turning up and I don't panic when I am just asking for help."

Her mother Emma Smith said her daughter's confidence has grown a lot since she started the course with the charity.

"She would always write things down and do anything not to speak to people she didn't know," she added.

"The level of support she has received from her job coach at National Star has been incredible."

Chloe Smith also volunteers at a St Michael’s Hospice charity shop, working on the till and labelling clothes to put in the shop.

She said she has made new friends on the employability skills course and at her placements.

A supported internship is a one-year course and runs during term-time, four days a week.

At the end of the programme individuals will be supported to search for jobs, apply for jobs and go to interviews. Currently, 70.5% of interns successfully move into paid employment.