Tag Archives: retraining

Working with children

16 Dec

The Early Years Sector is a rewarding and vitally important sector which needs high quality staff at all levels. There are many exciting career options available, whether you are looking to work full-time, part-time or on a voluntary basis, with plenty of opportunities for training and progression.

If you have enthusiasm and enjoy working with young children and want to play a key role in supporting children’s learning and development, this could be the career for you.

The Early Years and Childcare Service can provide you with information about the different roles within early years, qualifications and training pathways and where to look for the latest jobs.

Contact us for a copy of our ‘Working in early years and childcare’ booklet  which has been designed to help you to make a more informed choice about your career options so that you feel confident about what steps to take next.

For Information on jobs, qualifications and training routes visit: www.devon.gov.uk/eycs, email: natalie.elston@devon.gov.uk or phone: 01392 385398

Return to Learn

2 Dec

We have met many inspirational people who have returned to education later in life; here are some of their stories:


“Some years ago, at the grand old age of 33, I decided it was time I got a proper job!  I had worked in pubs and shops and offices but felt unfulfilled; I could be heard to say that I didn’t want to have “Here Lies Unfulfilled Potential” written on my tombstone.  I was really the only person that could ensure that that didn’t happen.

I was the single Mum of two lovely children, both of whom were now at school.  This was my time!

I embarked on a Return to Learn course, which led onto an Access course and then a teaching degree at Exeter University – in total a five year project!  Five years in which I sometimes felt out of my depth, and wondered who I was kidding to think I was capable of a degree; however, it was also five years in which I felt enlivened, excited and energised – I realised I did have a brain and that I loved delving into literature and its hidden meanings, and I also learned that I could “feel the fear but do it anyway” to paraphrase a well-known saying!

I am now in my 13th year of teaching – having gone from Mealtime Assistant to Assistant Head Teacher – and I can honestly say I never feel unfulfilled!

I believe that there are often unintended consequences of our actions – I think my children saw a good role model – and so did some of my friends – 3 of them have gone onto study at university – one to PHd level, after watching me and seeing anything is possible if you put your mind to it!

If you are remotely tempted to make a change, take a leap of faith, give it a go – what have you got to lose? …..Oh, and Good Luck!”


Lucy was working as a lawyer, and had a good job which she loved.  Following the birth of her daughter, she found that she was no longer as excited by and passionate about her job, and wanted to try something new.  She wanted to be able to work closer to home, term time only, and in a rewarding role.  She decided to retrain as a Classroom Assistant.  She started volunteering in the local primary school and enrolled on a course at her local college.  Now with a second baby, Lucy has completed her course and has just been offered her first job as a Classroom Assistant!

“I will earn a lot less money, but I’ll have more job satisfaction, and the pay-off is the holidays – I get to spend time with my family.  I am keeping up with my Legal Continuing Professional Development though, as it means I can always use my Legal skills.”

Sophie Duffy is an author from Devon who has had two books published: The Generation Game and This Holey Life.

“How did I start?  It was back in 2001.  We’d just moved from London to Worthing with our three kids, aged 2, 4 and 5.  I didn’t know anyone and my brain was going to mush so I decided to do an evening class.  I chose creative writing partly because I had done an English degree but mainly because it was on an evening when my husband was around to babysit.  After the first lesson, I was hooked.  I had a fantastic tutor and made some great friends.  I went on to do an MA in Creative Writing by distance learning at Lancaster University.

Eleven years on from that first evening class, my kids are 13, 16 and 17 – so look out for teenage angst in the next novel.  Now I just have to write it…”

To find out more about Sophie and her writing, see her website www.sophieduffy.com.  Sophie is also one of the authors behind Creative Writing Matters – offering support to other aspiring authors through workshops and mentoring.  See www.creativewritingmatters.co.uk to find out more.

Are you thinking about a career change?  Check out Opportunity Plus UK’s great range of courses.  Whether you already have the skills and ideas you need and just want a basic Business Start-up course, or you want to learn a brand new skill, Opportunity Plus UK have the course for you.  Visit www.opportunityplus.org.uk for a full course list.

Making the most of redundancy

19 Aug

Ritchie had been working as a Business Manager for an international company for a few years, when he found out that he was going to be made redundant.  Though the news was initially a shock, and incredibly worrying, he decided to see it as an opportunity to rethink his career plan.

He loved cars and being outside, and had always been a clean and tidy person, so he decided to start his own Car Valeting business.  A world away from his previous experience, but a role that would allow him more freedom and flexibility, be good fun, and keep him fit at the same time.

He undertook a training course to learn all the tricks of the trade, and then set up Car Care Plus.  His business is growing rapidly, and he is working with a range of businesses, as well as individuals, and building an excellent reputation for his business.  His professional experience, appearance and attitude make him the ideal choice for working in professional premises.

“Our vehicles are always cleaned and finished to the highest standard and the value for money is outstanding.  I would highly recommend CCP to all.  Especially handy whilst you are at work!”  Miss Laura Tejada, WA Consultants

If you run your own business, or are attending job interviews, having a well maintained car can help to cement that all important first impression for the customer or employer.

Get in touch with Ritchie on 07714687676 or email: info@carcareplus.co.uk.

You can also follow him on Facebook.



L.A Barbers: A single mother’s story

27 Aug

Liza Kane was a young single mother with little work experience.  Once her daughter started school she decided it was time to think about her career, and put herself first after years of nappies, playgroups, and missed nights out!  She went to college and trained as a hairdresser, started small working “mobile” from her own home as well as her clients’.  She built up her skills and client base, spotted a gap in the market, and went for it – she now runs a barbershop in Dawlish, Devon.  Read on to hear her story in her own words:

“As a young single mother, I struggled with the mounting costs of my daughter going in and out of childminders before and after school, whilst I worked in a very unwanted office job.  I decided to get qualified in something I was passionate about, would fit around my daughter’s schooling, and would ultimately pay the bills!

I attended a weekly evening class at South Devon College and studied Hairdressing, qualifying in 2yrs to level 3.  This was brilliant and enabled me to build up my mobile hairdressing client base around the local area.

After a while, my knowledge in the industry grew and I wanted to branch out into a more specialist field, so I enrolled back at college on a childrens hair cutting and barbering course.  From here I found my real passion for hair, I also realised a great shortage of good kids hairdressers and barbers in the local area.  I felt it was the right time to branch out and take the leap into premises.

In January of this year (2012), I teamed up with Amanda, who also has young children, and we opened L.A Barbers in Dawlish, launching a traditional barbers with a modern twist. We are a team of female barbers specialising in male and kids cuts.  We take the drama out of first hair cuts and trims by using our racing car hair cutting chair, keeping the little ones happy!

L.A Barbers has had huge success in our first 8 months and we have had positive comments and support from everyone.  We recently began stocking head lice repellent gels and detanglers, we are now catering for ladies and are looking forward to our future!”

For more information, check out the L.A Barbers’ Facebook page.