The pandemic caused job losses across the country, and one person who was affected, Vernetta, decided she had to explore different training options to retrain for a new career.

The beginning of the pandemic was tough for Vernetta, as she was not only made redundant in a job that she loved, but also found out that she was pregnant.

“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m pregnant and unemployed, what am I going to do?’”

Her sister told her about a free Level 3 qualification (the equivalent of an A Level) in leadership and management at Weston College – this was part of the Government’s Free Courses for Jobs programme, helping everyone gain skills for life.

The course was part-time, which offered Vernetta flexibility, something that is really beneficial for many adults who are juggling family life, studying and part-time work.

“I’ve just had to be really self-disciplined. My family have all been rooting for me, and we’ve got a group on the course where we all support each other,” says Vernetta, who kept working towards the Level 3 qualification after finding employment, in order to widen her career options.

The leadership and management qualification is recognised by employers across multiple industries, offering a fantastic opportunity to upskill with its practical focus on how to manage projects, people and relationships.

“It’s really about expanding my knowledge. I’ve got experience of leadership and management but mostly from one sector.

“If you only know one way of working, you don’t get to see that there are other ways of doing things.

“My CV was really packed with experience but not with education. If I ever wanted to work in retail or real estate, I’d know different ways of leading and managing, thanks to the skills I’ve learnt from this course.”

Now she has gained the Level 3 qualification in leadership and management, there are doors open to Vernetta that were closed before. She has both the confidence and skills to go for promotions – and boost her salary.

Free Courses for Jobs is just one of the affordable routes funded by the Government to help people get skills for life. At Weston College we offer a number of routes that allow you to upskill, or reskill to enter a new industry, whether that be through earn-while-you-learn apprenticeships, or intensive Skills Bootcamps, all available to adults of any age.

For Vernetta, this opportunity to keep learning has been one of the best things about taking her course, alongside gaining the confidence to develop her career and forming some friendships along the way.

“You’re never too old to learn a new skill – so why not?”

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