Karen Ball is ending 2007 on a high note after blowing the whistle on years of unemployment.
The mother-of-three, from Ward End, is enjoying working and earning a wage after clinching a job at Acme Whistles in the city's Jewellery Quarter.
Ms Ball, aged 27, is just one of seven people recruited by the company with the help of Pertemps People Development Group, which delivers a range of Government-funded Welfare to Work initiatives.
Acme Whistles products, created in the Barr Street workshops by a team of around 50 employees, are used by police officers, sports umpires and referees, dog trainers, Scouts and many others.
Ms Ball, a former waitress, had been out of work while raising her young family but recently decided the time was right to get back on the career ladder. Now she spends her day making a wide range of whistles.
She said: "I am really enjoying it. I'm getting to know all the people here and they are really friendly. It is good for me because I don't want to be on benefits any more and I have got more freedom."
Her workmates include several former PPDG clients.
Anthony Givans, aged 51, of Edgbaston, was unemployed for six years before being employed as a solderer.
Alan Williams, aged 59, of Ladywood, had been unemployed for six years after being made redundant and found work at Acme seven years ago. He has been joined at the family-run business by son Matthew.
Mum-of-three Norma McKenzie, aged 53, from Nechells, works in inspection. She had been unemployed for two years after leaving the Royal Mail due to ill health.
Debbie Topman, company director and chairman, said: "We are willing to give people an opportunity and we have been successful in recruiting several who have not been able to secure employment elsewhere."
Acme superintendent Terry Willkinson, who joined the company 36 years ago as a 15-year-old, said: "The market for whistles just seems to keep growing and we are now producing more than six million each year."