When she decided her job as a part-time florist had little future, single mum-of-two Jacqui Kerr sought a total change of direction.
But she quickly found that she didn’t have the right experience or qualifications for the office jobs that she subsequently applied for.
After ruling out college because of the prohibitive fees, she signed up for an Activate course at the Learning Hub, based next to the QEHB and part-funded by University Hospitals Birmingham, before moving onto the Trust apprenticeship programme.
“I was a bit concerned about my age but the people at the Learning Hub said, ‘Go for it, you’ve got nothing to lose’,” she said.
Jacqui had an interview and was accepted and has been working as an admin assistant in the Liver Biomedical Research Unit.
Although admitting balancing her full-time role with family life has not always been easy, she is grateful for the chance to gain new skills and experience while still earning.
“I’m a single mum and had always worked part-time to fit around the needs of the children. Obviously the apprenticeship is full-time so it was a bit of a shock to the system to start with.
“There are times when it has been a bit of a challenge but overall it has not been too bad.
“As a single mum on benefits this was the only way I could see to get the experience and the qualifications I needed in business administration.”
When her apprenticeship finishes in November, Jacqui is hoping to find a receptionist role within the trust or elsewhere in the NHS.