Charmaine’s community learning experience gives her a fresh start

Charmaine’s community learning experience gives her a fresh start


A place on one of our Community Learning Academies has totally transformed the life of a single mother of five – who has since gained her first ever job and first step into an exciting career.

Charmaine Scott, 40, from Top Valley in Nottingham is now in very high spirit’s after her successful attendance on a five-week work based community learning development scheme has led to her achieving invaluable work-related qualifications, which have changed her previous unemployment status. 

Miss Scott was referred to the Nottingham College Community Learning Academy in partnership with community based charity Bestwood Directions, Nottingham City Council and Job Centre Plus in May (2018).      This Academy, based at Bestwood Directions and South Glade Access Centre, was aimed at upskilling and finding vacancies at the Council for the long-term unemployed in cleaning, catering and public realm operative. 

Attendees of all of the community based Academies are able to learn valuable employability techniques and skills which are relevant to any industry like CV writing, interview techniques and job searching through Universal Job Match. 

Before coming to the course, Charmaine was very interested in both catering and cleaning. Her hard work and passion certainly paid off, as she was professionally recognised at the Academy by achieving a Level 2 Food Safety Awareness, Level 2 Health and Safety in the Workplace, Level 2 Emergency First Aid at Work, Level 2 COSHH, Level 1 Aim Award in Customer Service and Employability Skills.

Speaking of her initial apprehension, Charmaine said:

“As a mum of five children and aged 40 with no employment history, I often felt that my life had already been mapped out for me.  I’ve never had a job apart from being a carer for a family member and never believed that I could get work with no qualifications or experience.

“I really didn’t know I could do it! I was initially very nervous and subdued with a lack of confidence.”
It soon became apparent though that her experience in the Learning Academy would change all of her worries and fears, giving her more of a positive view of herself and her abilities. In addition, the relaxed and friendly atmosphere that she experienced during her course, made Charmaine enjoy learning and she was able to make friends easily.

“I felt more comfortable with the fact that everyone was in the same boat” she said and because of this, she found it was a pleasant learning experience with no pressure to be better than anyone else.

“I didn’t feel silly asking questions and the bonus of the course being held locally was a major help to me around my childcare issues,” Charmaine continued.

Charmaine also took advantage of joining the Work Club and IT sessions at Southglade Access Centre which were part of the Academy.  Here, she learnt to use the Internet for job searching, to open an email account, to record her activity and how to create and amend her CV, of which initially she stated, “my CV was only my name.”

She continued:

“The support I was given was invaluable and as I had never had an interview, I was able to practise how to do it and what questions to ask and how to answer the employer – this gave me confidence to know what to expect and that I was able to do it.”

Shortly before the end of the course she secured a catering position with a local café company in the area and for the first time in her life, she is enjoying the benefits of working and being self-sufficient.

Charmaine stated:

“I couldn’t have done it without the support of the partners in this course and never thought I would find work! I would really like to thank everyone who has helped and supported me through my journey and if I can do it anyone can – you just have to take the first step!”

Nottingham College has a variety of part-time community learning courses that are available to anyone over 19, who doesn’t currently have a Level 2 or above qualification. The Academies are especially designed to upskill people who need extra support getting into work, whether it be for example, for people who have been unemployed for a long time, for anyone who is low in confidence, has learning difficulties or who has English Language or IT barriers.

Speaking of Charmaine’s fantastic success, Karen Lee-Burton, a Community Development Worker at the College said:

“It is so wonderful what Charmaine has achieved and she is a great role model to many people who desperately want to find work but need help to overcome personal barriers. Our community learning employability Academies are specially designed to make valuable changes and to provide unique provision for local people who require it in a variety of areas across Nottinghamshire. 

“Our community team provide ongoing courses and support to anyone who needs it and try to tailor it all to suit individual needs. Anyone who joins us can feel secure that they will be welcomed in friendly, small group sessions specifically designed to get people into work.”

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