Karen's journey

A Leicestershire woman who signed up with the county council’s Work & Skills programme has received the best Christmas present she could hope for – a new job!

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The new year will see Karen Norton start work in her role as a senior youth advocate – and she says it is all thanks to the Work & Skills Leicestershire team.

Karen worked for many years as a cover teacher; but when she went to apply for teacher training, she was told her American qualifications in English and Maths were not deemed equivalent to the GCSEs required.

Karen, who has a degree in History, an MA in Museum Studies and is studying for an MA in International Human RightsLaw, is now also studying for her Maths GSCE, alongside being a volunteer youth worker. She is looking forward to starting her new job.

She said: “I am a well-educated person and I didn’t expect not to be able to do my teacher training. It was heartbreaking – it really knocked my confidence. I’d had a plan and it hadn’t worked out and I had no self-worth at all. It felt like I had a cultural disconnect.

“I found out about Work & Skills Leicestershire from the website – and it was brilliant! I’d been turned down for jobs, so we went through my CV and through the job specifications and the staff helped me so much – they never made me feel self-conscious. It was great to have someone to point out my skills and experience and where else they might be useful – for instance I thought I had no managerial experience, but they pointed out that I had run a youth camp and that was managerial experience.

”When I found out I had got the job, it was the best Christmas present I could have wished for. My confidence is now through the roof; my self-worth is back, I feel like myself again – and I have Work & Skills to thank for all that. I am so looking forward to the new year and to starting work in my new role.

“Work & Skills Leicestershire  is a great programme and the fact that it is free is amazing! It has had a huge impact on my life and I have been telling other people all about it. I think it is a service which could help anyone – and I would say to people ‘you have more skills than you think you have – don’t let your self-confidence be knocked’.”

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