After more than 30 years as a painter and decorator, Paul Wilkinson was grateful for the opportunity to try his hand at a brand new career with Think Employment.
63-year-old Paul had already gained lots of experience as a carer in his personal life and was keen to get some further industry training, once he realised that Think Employment offered a free training course for eligible jobseekers.
In less than a month, Paul managed to gain new skills, boost his CV with a nationally-recognised care qualification and was invited to volunteer at a local mental health unit in the city.
How did you first come to hear about Think Employment?
I’d been a painter and decorator for 35 years, after a car accident I wasn’t able to carry on with that line of work. So I was looking for a new career at the age of 63! I came to Think Employment initially to update my IT skills but I was interested pursuing care as a career because I’d already spent time looking after my mum. So I signed up for the care course and found it both rewarding and enjoyable.
What was it about the care course that attracted you to it?
I’ve got an old friend who’s been struggling with dementia for years and I’ve been helping him out for a long time. It’s been things like going round to see him, take him out, doing his shopping and various other things you do to help people in those situations. Just like with my experience looking after my mother, I thought, I’m already providing this kind of service, so why not go on the course, see if it interests me and leads into employment.
It sounds like you already had some care skills then – did you pick up some extra advice from the course?
Yeah I learned just how involved and in-depth care is as a career. Emotionally it can be quite draining. I don’t think people really understand that until they either do a course like this or spend time doing the job. I now feel better equipped for a career in care as a result of the training… and it’s opened another door for me.
What do you think to our Tutors, learning environment and the length of the course you did?
Well Lynne was the Tutor for the care course and her presentation skills were excellent. Her understanding of the subject matter was really good too and I think she was a really efficient Tutor. The people on the course were a good bunch and I know from talking to everyone in the group – we all thoroughly enjoyed the training. I think the length of the course is about right because if they were too drawn out, I think people might get a bit bored. I think if someone has an interest in the subject – as I did – these courses are a very good introduction. I’d definitely recommend people to come to Think Employment because you’re not hurried or lectured on anything. You’re just helped.
Now that you’ve completed the course, are you hoping to get more hands on experience in the sector?
I’ve taken things a step further and I’ve found a voluntary position with a mental health unit – it seems the natural progression for me. It’s going to be a long way away from my old Painting and Decorating job but I think care is going to be a very rewarding career for me. I’m aware that I’m going in at the deep end, a bit, but I think I’ll know very soon if it’s something I want to pursue.