GRoW participant Gemma joined the programme following traumatic home circumstances which saw her having to uproot and move home with her young son a number of times. Her local job centre adviser recommended the GRoW programme to help her prepare for finding a job and Gemma is now on the way to achieving a Level 2 qualification in Childcare.
Gemma said “I’m not always great at asking for help even if I really need it. That’s one of the areas GRoW has been able to help me because they make a point of keeping in touch to make sure I know support is always available. They have been really good at helping me with the things I struggle with such as job application forms. Tosin has been a great help as far as that is concerned.
When my son was very young I did have a job but because my home life was quite unstable it was difficult to manage the caring responsibilities and so I wasn’t able to continue. That didn’t mean I didn’t want to work, it is something I really wanted to do and in fact I did recently have an interview for a mid-day supervisor job at a local school but unfortunately lockdown came into play and the job was put on hold. I am still hopeful that I will be successful and will be able to start the job when schools re-open.
In the meantime I want to improve my employability skills as much as possible and GRoW’s Lockdown Training Programme is the perfect opportunity to do this, especially as I can do the whole course online in a flexible way that fits around homeschooling and entertaining my son while his school is closed.
I chose to do the Level 2 Qualification in Childcare and Education because I would really like to get a job in a school as a teaching assistant as the term-time working would be ideal for me to fit around caring for my son. I already have a Level 1 BTEC Introductory Diploma in Sports (for which I achieved a distinction) and I also did the Level 3 National Certificate in Sports when I was at college. To get a job in a school though it would be really helpful to gain a qualification specifically around caring for children and young people. I have seen quite a few jobs advertised for PE Teaching Assistants which would be perfect for me but because I don’t have the relevant qualifications I haven’t been successful in applying.
I am finding the Level 2 course really quite easy to do. I tend to do more work in the evening when my son is calmer. I have a dedicated tutor to help me through the course and she recommended I work 3 hours a day. This would mean that I could effectively complete the course in 5 to 6 weeks rather than the 10 week period that is allocated for it. I’ve almost finished my first assessment which is due this Friday and I’m on schedule to complete the course by 28th July.
The course is all online and if I get interrupted I can easily just stop and pick up from where I left off. I find having a pad and pen to take notes while I read through the course the best way to do it as I then have everything I need when it comes to completing the assessment at the end of each module.
I am really excited about gaining this qualification as I feel that it will really equip me and stand me in good stead for when schools reopen hopefully in September. I anticipate that schools will likely need more staff to help children catch up on what they have missed over this lockdown period and with my new qualification I will have so much more to offer them.