Saeema Champions the importance of learning for all

Saeema is an Engagement Adviser at GRoW and first came to us in 2017 when she was getting ready to go back to work and went through the GRoW Programme herself as a participant.  An advocate for learning new skills and personal and professional progression Saeema has embraced a range or training and learning opportunities and is championing the importance of continued development for all.

Saeema said “I know it’s not always easy to find time to do extra learning but there are many ways you can learn, it’s not always time consuming and if you discipline yourself anything is possible. I am a busy person – I work part time, I’m a mum to four children and am also a carer but despite this I believe that it is really important for me to find ways to develop myself further and when I set my mind to something that I want to achieve then really there’s no stopping me.

Since joining GRoW I have undertaken a range of training, most recently the IEP Sector Accredited Induction which is a Level 2 online learning course for employability practitioners.  This course has been invaluable to me in my role as an Engagement Adviser, giving me a much better understanding of how to do my job.  It was very well written and as it was also interactive it was actually quite fun to do. To help motivate myself I set myself a goal to finish the course before the Summer started.  I completed a different module every evening, some were longer than others and took longer to digest however. Something I learned while doing the course was just how much I didn’t know!  The course taught me new ideas and practical advice to try in my job and it was a great way to develop myself.

During the first lockdown in 2020 I did a Level 2 course on Information, Advice and Guidance which has helped me structure myself with the clients I support.  The course was provided by the Skills Network and it was really very good.  Even though I had many additional responsibilities during lockdown such as homeschooling, caring full time and a busy workload I felt it was important, especially during that time with all the restrictions we were living with, to stretch my mind and do something for myself.  It has really helped to improve my knowledge so I can do my job better which has given me a lot more confidence.

As well as achieving these qualifications I have taken advantage of other learning opportunities.  For example, as part of my job I started working with the Hillingdon Women’s Centre on their Workplace Safespace project which aims to support survivors of domestic abuse.  Because of my work commitments I couldn’t attend their live sessions but in my own time I was able to get up to speed with everything they were doing as they shared materials with me via email.  Being part of this project was so beneficial to me as it gave me such an insight into how to better support people experiencing domestic abuse and how best to approach the subject.  I gained lots of knowledge through the project which made me feel far more comfortable about how to speak to people experiencing domestic abuse and who to refer them to make sure they received the right support.

Recently GRoW, as a community organisation, were approached by the London Borough of Hillingdon and MOPAC (Mayor of London Policing Committee) to be part of their Hate Crime programme.  As part of the programme I undertook a 4 week online training course which I did on top of my working hours.  It was really informative, explaining what Hate Crime is and how to support people in the community who have experienced it.  As part of the training my role is to work with other organisations who are part of the project to help build trust in the community so people feel more comfortable talking about hate crime and break down barriers to reporting it. It was really nice to be learning with other community leaders and find out how they work and how hate crime affects them.  The training sessions were all held during live sessions online and we had guest speakers, representatives from the Counter Terrorism Department, Police Officers and support agencies in attendance. Now I have completed the course I am an official Hate Crime Upstander and the Council keep me and the other community organisations up to date about incidents in the borough and brief us on what is happening and how best to communicate it to make people feel safer.  I was really proud to be invited to the Hillingdon Civic Centre recently to be awarded my Certificate and it was great to be able to meet up with the other community organisations on the day and see my colleagues in person.

The London Borough of Hillingdon also hold a Covid-19 meeting once a month which I am now part of.  They give us a summary about incidents such as new variants and inform us of the measures that will be put in place, what each of us can do to help the situation and to share thoughts and opinions.  I am really happy to be part of the meeting and to help clients, especially those with language barriers, to ensure they are keeping themselves as safe as possible.

Despite 2020-2021 being very challenging, they have been good years for me both personally and professionally.  So much has changed with Covid and we had to very quickly change and adapt to new ways of working and to build different relationships with clients.  Doing these courses have really helped me do that. I feel more able to quickly adapt, to be flexible and I also feel more confident due to the knowledge and skills I’ve learned. I am better at my job now as a result which means I can support and advise people better to make sure they get the right support.

Taking advantage of learning opportunities is something I truly believe everyone can and should do.  Not only does it build your confidence, it enriches you as a person and motivates you to do more.  If I can do it, anyone can!”

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