Back to work: The balancing act
Establishing a career path while maintaining a work life balance for her and her two children are at the heart of Carol Bishop’s wishes for returning to work. Positive People, a programme funded by the Big Lottery Fund and European Social Fund to help individuals who are out of work, is helping her build a plan for her future while learning new skills.
Making a start
Meeting Natasha from Torbay Community Development Trust (a Positive People partner), at a local event has helped Carol Bishop, 48, take the first steps to finding the career she wants. Carol says, “I am a single parent with three children and recently lost my job as a community link worker due to budget cuts forcing the closure of my department. That was my first job since leaving work to look after my two children but what I really want is a career, something long-term, rather than just moving from one temporary job to the next. When I met Natasha, she discussed starting on the Positive People programme and how it could help me to overcome any barriers to returning to work. All I had to do was fill out some forms and answer a few questions, it was a really straight-forward process.”
Carol attended two free group workshops with her family, run by Positive People partners Cosmic and Torbay Community Development Trust, to help people better understand digital technology and get a taste of the personally tailored activities for digital support that Positive People offers. Together they got involved with Sound Paths at Berry Head in Brixham, learning how to record sounds and a DIY Virtual Reality workshop where they learnt how to build cardboard virtual reality headsets. Carol says, “We really enjoyed the sessions. My children have special needs but there was a relaxed atmosphere which meant we didn’t feel anxious and could get on with the projects. I prefer group sessions and work best with other people so these were perfect for us.”
Positive People is part of the Building Better Opportunities programme working with partners to tackle the root causes of poverty, promote social inclusion and drive local jobs and growth. Avril Bankes-Fay, Positive People Partnership Manager, says, “Through our flexible programme, Positive People is giving Carol the chance to develop skills and build the career that she wants. Our range of personal development courses and support services will continue to help her reach her goals.”
Carol is now taking the next step and will be working with the team at Positive People to find courses that suit her and take her closer to reaching her goal. She says, “I am looking into some of the mini courses and online training on offer, maths and Excel training would be particularly helpful for me. I can fit these around school hours which is really helpful. It is still early days but I think all of this support will help to build my confidence.”
Over the next three years, the £4 million Positive People programme will help over 1,000 individuals to build a brighter future. For more information contact Avril on 07971 600770 or email Avril.Bankes-Fay@pluss.org.uk.