A brand new caring start for Terrie at Certitude

by Amanda Pavon-Lopez

Terrie Blake is one of six local residents to be celebrating a new career, after completing an inspirational new training programme.

In December 2017, Lambeth Adult Learning service and care charity Certitude welcomed their first learners on to a brand new pre-employment training programme for support work in health and social care. Lambeth Adult Learning is Lambeth Council’s adult learning service, and the programme was delivered by MI ComputSolutions training centre in Brixton. One of the programme’s first graduates was Lambeth resident and mum, Terrie Blake.

Terrie has lived in Lambeth since 2001 and has had a variety of jobs, including working in Waste Services for Greenwich Council, as a florist, and as a qualified childcare worker. By 2017, she had been struggling with the long hours of her childcare job that left her little time to spend with her family. Wanting to provide more support to her young son, she left her job, but the resulting time unemployed left her feeling low and struggling financially. She knew she needed a new direction in life, but had no idea where to start.

A friend suggested trying out a new care training programme at Lambeth Adult Learning, and although Terrie had no particular interest in the area, she decided to go along to an open day to find out more. She says, “I’m so glad that I decided to give it a try, as it was so good I’ve never looked back. I didn’t know anything about it, and thought that care work was scary. The course answered a lot of questions I had about care and what is involved. It really opened my eyes.”

The training included input from existing care workers at Certitude. Employees joined the course to talk about their roles, the type of work available and what they enjoyed about their job. Terrie found it really interesting to listen to people actually doing the work, rather than relying on written job descriptions and assumptions about what care work was about. “Hearing people talking about the job they do from day to day helps you decide if that is something you can do,” she says.

Terrie also got help with preparing a CV, and learned to identify her qualities and strengths, apply them to different roles in the care sector, and then match them against a person specification. She says, “The course helped me gain so much confidence and a really positive outlook. We talked about our fears and barriers, and the whole group supported each other. It really took away a lot of the anxiety about going to an interview and into the unknown.”

Terrie felt very anxious about returning to work but found the course a great ‘bridge’ back. She has now been at Certitude full-time for two months and loves it. She says, “It’s lots of hard work, but I really enjoy giving back into people’s lives, and our respite house is like a family. It’s something I never thought I’d ever do, but I’m learning so much and Certitude lets me take it slowly and shows me everything I need to do. I really thought it would be harder, especially the personal care bit, but at the end of the day our clients are people just like us. They become like a second part of your family.”

The new job has made a real difference to her family life as well, and as the work is flexible she can fit it in around childcare and other family commitments. She says, “I just want to build a better future. It’s important that children see that you have to work hard to do things in life, so they understand the value of working and money.”

The past year has seen an amazing change in Terrie. As well as a job and a career she can progress and learn in, Terrie now has financial independence, confidence, and her health has improved. She has even started working on her own businesses as well – one as a night nanny and another around party planning. She says, “I can’t believe the difference. Just a year ago I was in a job I wanted to leave, had no confidence and no idea of what I wanted to do with my life. I never thought I’d be able to work full time, let alone start a business. Now I’ve got job security and a flexible schedule. It’s given me that extra boost and has brought my family closer together – I definitely made the right decision! This course and career is especially perfect for parents, as work shifts are flexible and there are so many different centres. It’s a great job for anyone who likes people.”

Lambeth Adult Learning is Lambeth Council’s adult learning service, helping adults over the age of 19 improve a wide variety of skills including English, Maths, IT, ESOL, Active Citizenship, employability and enterprise. Courses are run in community venues across the borough.

If you’d like to follow Terrie’s example and learn more about working in care, another course will be running soon. To find out more, contact [email protected] or call Alex Bousoulengas on 07940 492 149.

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