Gayatri Learns from her wealth of experience

Gayatri came to GRoW in March 2022 looking to improve her career progression opportunities.  She is currently working as a Customer Service Assistant/Price Controller in the retail sector but has a wealth of experience and skills that she wants to utilise in a corporate setting.

Gayatri said “I came to the UK from India around 14 years ago and have undertaken a variety of voluntary and paid jobs during that time. For the last 10 years I have worked for Sainsburys. It’s been rewarding and I’ve enjoyed it very much but I would really like now to work in a more corporate environment where I have the opportunity to do more work from home.

I was a qualified Primary School Teacher in my home country but when I moved to the UK, I left my teaching job behind and had to start again.  My husband and I first settled in Ipswich in Suffolk and I joined a voluntary organisation called Volunteering Matters (formerly CSV MediaClubHouse) where I did an ESOL course but very soon after, I started working with them as an instructor, teaching 60+ people how to learn basic technology and computer skills.  I then began to work with them as an Administrative Officer, registering people onto the courses.  During this time, I also worked as a Library Assistant Volunteer at Ipswich Suffolk Library and a Radio Anchor for Ipswich Community Radio!

My husband’s job is in IT and we have to relocate quite frequently which meant that in 2011 we moved to London and I was on the lookout for new work opportunities.  Coming to London, a big crowded city where everything was new again for me, was exciting and I quickly found a seasonal temporary job as a Mail Sorter for Royal Mail and then soon after I joined HESTIA as an Administrative Assistant Volunteer.  At Hestia, I was working mainly with Human Resources department and various other divisions and it was very rewarding.  When you work as a volunteer, it is a great learning opportunity, you are presented with new challenges every day and are learning something new all the time; it was great experience for me. I was nominated for more hours and was given a 500 hour a year reward.

After volunteering at Hestia for just over a year, I went to work for Sainsburys as a Customer Service Assistant but due to my enthusiasm my manager put me forward for a full-time position as a Price Controller in the Commercial Department.  It was an interesting job which was really fulfilling but when I learned I was expecting my first child, I wanted to reduce my hours.  My employer was really flexible, they said they didn’t want to lose me so they transferred me to a Customer Service Job on a part-time basis that would work better for my family.

My son is now in Primary School and so I like being able to work part time so that I can be there for him.  I’ve been able to combine my part-time job really well with my family commitments and at the same time, I have been able to get involved in other ventures too that I find interesting and rewarding.

I am someone who really enjoys helping people, sharing knowledge and skills so that other people can reach their full potential.  Something I am really passionate about is helping my community and I am really lucky to have been offered a job six months ago working with the London Borough of Hounslow as a Library Assistant. The job is so varied and I get lots of opportunities to help people. Outside of work, I have created other opportunities to help people.  I have set up two Facebook groups, one for men and women from my culture to meet and make introductions and another for women only which has 2000 members. I provide support to the above Facebook groups via separate Whatsapp Groups as well. I like to do community work because my grandfather also did the same, I have grown up around this environment and seen my family help people which has inspired me to do what I do currently in my community. My mother was a qualified teacher but did not work outside the home, however she taught me how to teach my own language and I am now putting this to  good use through her YouTube Channel (with 1 million channel views and over 350+ videos and growing) we have set up together where we teach Gujarati to people all over the world, free of charge.

My husband and I also have a YouTube Channel helping people to access basic technology, especially the older generation who can sometimes struggle and find it hard to trust.  We teach them things like how to download Zoom and how to use their smart phone.  I also love cooking and teach people my recipes via YouTube too.

As cooking is a great love of mine and my son is quite a fussy eater, I wrote a book called the Healthy Rainbow Caterpillar: A parent’s guide to healthy eating which I self-published and is available on Amazon (Book link). I am also helping my father who is a writer and keen poet to publish books of his own and so my spare time is often spent typing up his notes. I have also helped him publish his first book on Amazon too (Book link).

Both sides of my families are supportive of my work which motivates me to keep learning and growing.

Even though I am naturally a confident and motivated person, coming to GRoW has been a great experience for me as I have learned so much from the women there.  Liz, Khatera, Kaneez, Sonia and Saeema are such amazing people with such humility.  Being supported by them has felt very easy, not pushy.  They have worked with me all the way, listening to what I need and what I want and it has been a fantastic learning opportunity.  You always learn from the people you meet, from sharing their experiences.

I often write about things in my own language like ‘how to be happy in life’; I find that learning things from new people makes me happy.  Nobody knows everything, there is always something new to learn, even if it is just picking up on ways people present themselves.  For instance, Kaneez was the first person I spoke to from the GRoW Team when I signed up.  She gave such a fantastic first impression as she spoke so nicely, was kind and friendly. She listened and asked me to share my ideas. It was such a normal and relaxed conversation that put me at ease.

GRoW’s Sonia has helped me to improve my cv and they have also introduced me to Smart Works who has helped with interview clothes.  Almost every day there is a GRoW Workshop or Session I can join that I find really interesting.  I am learning all the time and it’s a great environment to be part of. I wish I had joined earlier but because I already had a job I didn’t think they GRoW could help me. Now, they are going to help me improve my work prospects so I can get a better job with better pay, hopefully working in a hybrid way so I can do more work from home.”

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