Evie had worked for 23 years as an Environmental Health Inspector in Hong Kong but had not had a full time job since moving to the UK in December 2020. She had been tentatively looking for work but wasn’t proficient in accessing job sites and wasn’t sure how best to approach the job search process. She came to GRoW in May 2022 after seeing an advert that we can help mums get back to work.
Evie said “I saw an advert for GRoW in my daughter’s school newsletter and thought I would give it a try and see if it could help me. I had been kind of looking for work but I had no clue really, I had no direction or idea of how to approach it. I had been doing some part time work, just 1.5 hours a day as an SMSA in my daughter’s school but I really needed to work more hours.
Even though I had a good job in Hong Kong where I was a health inspector, my qualifications and certificate is not recognised here and I would need to do a 3 year course if I wanted to return to that field of work. I also fancied a change and wanted to explore more opportunities to work with children which is what I really enjoy.
When I joined GRoW I did the GRoW Bootcamp and the Coffee Morning and then went on to do the CV Writing and Interview Workshops. All of the Workshops helped me get to know the culture here in the UK in job searching and to also understand the qualities and skills that employers are looking for in the different jobs they offer. Things can be very different in different countries and it was such an insightful experience to learn about these things and to learn how to use the Job Sites. The Bootcamp was all about setting your mind to new things and new ways and it was especially interesting to learn about transferrable skills. It was knowing that I have these transferrable skills from my previous work that gave me courage to look for jobs.
GRoW produce a newsletter every week which contains a number of local jobs that you can apply for and it was really useful to see all the different sorts of jobs that are out there. I looked at all the jobs and picked up key words that I could look up on Indeed to narrow down the jobs that were of interest to me.
Getting a CV was so important for me. I have never written a CV before and I have never needed one as I only had to fill in a form to get my previous job and then I stayed in the same job for 23 years. The idea of writing a CV was horrifying and I didn’t know what I needed to include or how to go about it. Working with Sonia on the CV Workshop was amazing as she helped me put my CV together and picked out what was important. She also gave me lots of advice to help me keep going, advising me to send out applications regularly and also to make sure I really make a lot of effort at the start of Summer if I want to get a job in a school in September as that is when the Education sector tend to recruit. I have been sending out job applications every day now since the start of Summer and I thought that was really good advice.
The Interview Practice was really good for me as it helped me to organise the way I present myself. English is not my first language and I tend to speak in a very complicated way which can make it very difficult for me to communicate effectively. Also there are a lot of technical terms in my previous job and I find it difficult to try to explain this. Sonia helped to summarise it so that I could communicate it better when I have an interview which has made me feel much more confident.
Because I was already working in a school as an SMSA I did the Preparing to Work in Schools course as I wanted to see if I could go for a Teaching Assistant or School Administrator Job. I learned through the course that I need to do some training if I want to be a TA but I also reconsidered whether that is really what I want to do. I applied for a full-time Nursery Assistant job instead and was offered the position which starts on 1st August. It was funny when I went to the interview as they said I would need to do a Food and Hygiene Course but with my old job as a Health Inspector I feel quite qualified in this area already!
Even though I am now starting work my GRoW Adviser Kaneez has still offered to help me further and has offered me the opportunity to do an ESOL Course to improve my English language and also a Safeguarding course which I look forward to doing. Being part of GRoW has really helped me a lot. They continually urge you to keep going which helps to motivate you and keep on. It is quite tiring to keep searching for jobs and sometimes hard to motivate yourself, especially when you get no response from an application; it can be quite draining and frustrating. GRoW are always there though to push me and drive me forward.”