10th May 2021
Amanda had been unemployed for 8 years and was supported into learning new skills and work experience by Skills Support for Employment. She explains to us, in her own words, what her experience with us was like.
Tell us about your background, Amanda; and how you came to know about Skills Support for Employment?
I engaged with Skills Support for Employment in November 2019, having been referred via Rochdale Pioneers – Rochdale MBC to commence a Level 1 Mental Health Awareness qualification.
I’ve been out of paid employment for 8 years, having previously worked as a cleaner. I acknowledged that I lacked self-confidence and I struggled to engage with the qualification, having been out of a classroom environment and not engaged with learning for several years.
At reviews with my learning mentor, I explained I was struggling being part of the group and was trying to deal with my own mental health issues while supporting my mother, who had recently had surgery. I felt that the group had moved on and formed bonds without me as I had missed several classes, so it was at this point I decided that the qualification wasn’t right for me at that time.
What happened next, Amanda - what did you achieve?
I realised I needed to find my own focus and decided to work on improving my Maths and English grades. It was in February 2020 just prior to the first lockdown I was referred to Rochdale Training Centre and commenced English and Maths, initially in a classroom environment two days per week, then remote learning which initially, I struggled with.
I have continued to work on this and received excellent support from my tutor Andy Littlewood at Rochdale Training who has been so helpful. I’m now very close to achieving Level 2 in both Maths and English. During progress reviews with my learning mentor, I started to talk about the long-term goals I wanted to achieve. I expressed an interest in undertaking a Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools qualification, however I wanted to do this in a classroom environment which unfortunately wasn’t available due to the ongoing pandemic.
Over the duration of several months, I decided to start the qualification remotely once we had re-capped on the support that I would get from the tutor. I have now successfully achieved this qualification whilst home schooling 3 children, which has been a great experience for me.
I’m now on a work experience placement at Spotland Primary School in Rochdale, working two full school days per week. The Growth Company completed the Health and Safety and funded the DBS for the placement. I’m really enjoying the experience and putting my previous learning into practice, getting weekly catch up meetings with the Head of the School on my performance. I have enjoyed this so much I have now expressed an interest in commencing a Level 2 Autism Awareness qualification, as this will increase my employment opportunities and develop my knowledge and skills further both professionally and personally as I have a 16 year old son who has Autism.
This all sounds amazing, Amanda- you’ve really worked hard. You must be so proud of yourself. Have you noticed any difference in your confidence?
My confidence and self-esteem have increased vastly, and I acknowledge this is due to my determination and changed mind set, and the time, patience and coaching from everyone that I’ve been in contact with. I’m fully committed to completing the work experience placement at Spotland School and can’t wait for the days when I’m on placement with them so I can get back into the environment that I’m happy in and committed too.
I rang my Learning Mentor on my way home after the first week in the placement with the school to say “I love it, I can’t wait to go back next week and it is definitely the career I want”. I now believe in my ability and know that in time the right paid employment opportunity will come my way. No longer do I struggle being part of a team or group!
Amanda has made incredible strides towards a rich and rewarding working life for her, in a sector she loves. If, like her, you’d like a little help getting towards your chosen career path, we are here to help. For more information, click here.