Max Arnold thought he was going to hate every second he spent at Think Employment.
After his work coach told him that his chances of finding work would be boosted if he improved his IT skills, it was recommended that he should come to us to get an Entry Level qualification in the subject. As it should only take a couple of weeks, he thought he could put up with re-entering an educational environment.
Almost three months later, Max is still at Think Employment and is about to start his third IT qualification with us.
Interested in finding out why Max is still with us? We caught up with him earlier this week about his positive experience at our learning centre.
Max, when did you first hear about Think Employment?
“It came to my attention when I was speaking to my work coach. We were looking at my CV and what I had to offer – the clear gap in my resume was IT. Not just in terms of qualifications, I’m talking about any ability whatsoever. We identified that if there was a potential barrier for me gaining employment, this is where it was.”
Why did you feel that improving your IT skills was important?
“I’d pretty much always worked in sales and I only came out of work to look after my mum who had dementia. When she passed away I found myself in a situation where I needed to get back into work. I had got through all my previous employment without having to actually use IT myself because usually I worked with other people who were there to provide that support. But in the time I was out of the job market, things have changed because you are expected to at least have a basic understanding of IT in order to do any job nowadays – other than stock shelves at a supermarket. For me, this wasn’t just about getting the skills needed to help me find work. It was about everyday skills as well because just existing without IT skills is difficult.”
Give us an example of the kind of skills the IT training has provided you with?
“Well for starters I’m now not terrified of computers – it was almost as bad at that before! I’m now learning things which i can now see are going to be applicable to my general life and the workplace. I think it’s essential that you have these kind of digital skills in today’s society and Think Employment are teaching me them.”
Do you think the training environment in our Stockport centre and the help of the Tutors has been a factor in your successful time with us?
“Yeah, 100% correct. My initial thoughts were, this is just an entry level qualification I need to get and I’ll be in and out in a couple of weeks. I honestly thought I would hate every second of it. But within two or three days I realised that ‘hey, this isn’t going to be an issue’. And that’s purely down to staff and the environment they create. Personally, I hadn’t had a poor experience in education previously but I know for many people in the centre that has been an issue. If this environment had been exactly the same as school, I think it would be a nightmare for them. The facts are that you don’t: it’s friendly, relaxed and you’re ultimately in control of your own outcome, but the help is there if you want it. You couldn’t ask for anymore from a training provider – it’s pitched just right.”
You’ve just started working part-time in your local gym. Is that a possible new career direction for you or do you see yourself going back into sales and using your newly acquired IT skills?
“Potentially, yes. Because I really enjoy it – I’ve been going there as a hobby for over 25 years so it’s a home-from-home for me. A shift is seven hours – a shift that involves talking to people about something I love? What’s not to like?! But whether it could be a career for me, I don’t know. All of my employment history has been in sales, be it pharmaceuticals, insurance or legal – it’s always been selling. So maybe that’s where I run my best race. But whatever I end up doing, it’s almost certainly going to end up including a degree of IT.”
You completed Entry Level 3 in IT and you’re now coming to the end of Level 1 – is your goal to get up to Level 2 in IT before you leave us?
“Yes because the realisation I had is that if you haven’t got Level 2 in IT, it doesn’t count for much. I’ve heard it mentioned before by work coaches and Tutors that Level 2 qualifications carry more weight when people are going through CVs. After I achieve that, I’ll then be turning my attentions to finding a full-time job.”
Would you recommend Think Employment to others who want to improve their knowledge of IT or indeed upskill in anything from English and Maths, to the more vocational training we offer?
“Unequivocally, 100 %, yes. Not just for your increased employment prospects, but to improve your day-to-day skills as well. I would recommend it to anyone.”