We gave Deborah the confidence and skills to change her career

I was a bus driver for twenty years, I expected to continue in this career until my retirement, it was a job I loved, my dream job if you like, unfortunately fate threw a curve ball at me when I was least expecting it. I had a serious health issue resulting in my licence being revoked by the DVLA, with no future prospect of it being reinstated, which in turn meant I lost my job.

I was at an age that you don’t expect to have to look at changing career. It had been over twenty years since I last looked for work, the job market has changed massively in that time, especially with the introduction of the internet and computers, nothing was the same. I also needed to look for a complete career change.

Admin appealed to me a lot, but the thing that was letting me down was not having any certificates and a certain level of experience. This is when I found Futures. Although I was ok on a computer, I needed to get myself on a course to reflect this. Futures offered me a European Computer Driving Licence Level 2 course that built on my basic knowledge and experience to improve my understanding. A great deal of employers require it as a qualification, especially in admin.

I attended the six-week course at the Futures’ Mansfield centre, along with five other people. Our tutor, Tim Hargreaves, was very clear with what we needed to learn, what he expected of us and how it would help us in the future, imparting as much of his knowledge as he could. He was very supportive with a great deal of encouragement along the way, my confidence was building all through the course and I knew that with what I had learnt I could change my career.

If I look back on the past couple of years, I would never have thought I would be where I am now. The whole team at Futures have been very supportive all the way through. From tutors, managers and receptionists who I now call friends, I really feel I couldn’t have done any of it without you all, the hugest thank you to everyone!

The ongoing support after the course had finished was wonderful too. On several occasions, I reached out with queries and Futures were only too happy to help.

I then attended a 3-week Business and Administration level 1 course that included employability. The knowledge was invaluable! I would highly recommend this course to anyone. We covered everything from how to incorporate transferable skills into a CV, writing a cover letter, understanding a job description, application processes and everything in between. It sounds basic but the job market has changed so much since I last looked for work, it was just what I needed. We also did individual mock interviews and gave feedback on how it went, which was very constructive, and not critical at all.

I began applying for jobs right away. My applications had improved massively. They were more tailored with focus on my transferrable skills, and I felt much more confident. I received four invitations for interviews in a week! And because of the confidence that these courses had instilled in me my interviews flew by.

The following day after my very first interview, I had an offer of employment, which I gladly accepted. I am so excited for what the future holds for me now. My Futures tutor called me with ‘Woops woops! Congratulations!’ A great support, I could not have asked for more.

If you are an older person looking for work, get on these courses. What you did at school forty years ago isn’t always relevant in the workplace today. But really, no matter what age you are, do it!

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