Suzanne – Using Covid time constructively to retrain

23rd December 2020

When Covid struck, I was made redundant along with half of my team. What made my situation worse was that I am a single mother and was on maternity leave at the time. I was scared, uncertain, and felt very alone.

I had been thinking of retraining for a while anyway, so instead of falling into a deep despair I resolved to put my retraining idea into action. I am a pretty positive person so looked upon this as the push I needed to make a change, which I felt was necessary after 18 years of experience in advertising and events management.

As a people person, I have a genuine interest in managing customer relationships and interactions so looked for a course to retrain in Salesforce, the world’s biggest customer relationship management (CRM) system. During my research and quite by accident I stumbled upon Supermums.org, which aims to retrain, upskill and open up the world of tech to mothers. They run flexible courses, and what really appeals is that they offer work experience and mentoring. I believe this training will open up lots of possibilities for me – from consultancy work, trainer or an in-house role because almost every company and firm deals with and wants to better serve customers! On this track, I can study – my course demands 16hrs a week for up to 6 months – find some part-time work and look after my little son.

I have also been talking to Work Avenue for extra support and guidance. I joined their excel training courses because I wanted to build upon my self-taught skills. I also noticed that being proficient in excel is a requirement in most part-time, admin roles so I want to brush up on my skills in order to give myself the best chance to fill such a role. The courses were useful; the instructor was ever so patient, especially with some of the participants who were not too familiar with online/Zoom learning. The teaching was clear, and he gave us time to put into practice what he had been teaching. If anyone asks what I have been doing during the lockdown, I am proud to say that I have been proactively boosting my skills.

Work Avenue also tend to work with friendly employers. The Work Avenue jobs board has a good selection of part-time jobs. I think I am going to meet one of their employment advisers again, just to talk through my options and maybe get some help to redraft my CV. I have met one of the employment advisers previously and they were great.

I am also using their laptop library. This is an absolute lifeline for me. My old laptop is dying a slow death, but I don’t want to purchase a new one just yet as I’m in-between jobs and not earning. It would be a nightmare not to have a laptop at the moment as this connects me to other people, allows me to network, helps me with my job-search activities and enables me to join training courses, like the Work Avenue excel courses. It’s such a great resource, one I am telling all my friends about.

To sum up, we are really lucky to have Work Avenue. Thanks to them I have enrolled in IT training, received some career and employment support, and borrowed a laptop; the complete package that is FREE. Work Avenue is such a good example of how our community comes together to help one another in practical and helpful ways.