Christine McKevitt - Work Club Learner
Christine McKevitt has attended the Runcorn Work Club and IT class since being registered unemployed in March 2014.
She originally worked at Manchester Airport for ten years as a 'Meeter and Greeter', but as the work wasn't leading anywhere and her hours were being reduced, she decided to leave in September 2013.
'The work itself was physically exhausting, particularly as I was working shifts and weekends, never knowing when I might be called in. So, at the age of 53, I decided that the time had come change direction and to do a different kind of work.'
So as not to leave a gap in her CV, Christine took a Level 2 qualification in Business Administration and registered as a sole trader in order to start her own business, producing bespoke children's T-shirts, with the help of a grant from the Local Council.
However, the business did not take off and she eventually ran out of funds so, after a period of doing temporary jobs, she found herself, for the first time in her life, officially unemployed.
'I never thought that I would ever have to contend with this kind of situation, so I really appreciate Reachout and all the help and support they've given me with filling in forms and using the computer - I have been learning lots of new things that hopefully will help me find work.'
Although she originally found out about the Runcorn Work Club through a leaflet in her local library, the advisers at her Job Centre were also very keen for her to attend.
'If you want to demonstrate that you are serious about training and getting back into employment, you really have to go to a Work Club and be a part of it!'
Christine goes every Monday and Wednesday, primarily to use the 'Universal Job Match' online search facility. As she is keen to gain more up-to-date qualifications, she has also discussed her training requirements with the Reachout Project Worker.
As a result, she has now completed a clerical course, and is soon to start another course in 'Employability Skills', then she intends to take an English and Maths qualification via Reachout.
Christine has nothing but praise for the Reachout staff. 'The Work Club is doing a great job in difficult circumstances. It's a mixed ability group of people with only one Reachout Project Worker, who acts as a teacher, adviser, agony aunt, social worker - everything!
'As the Club is always very busy, Joanne, the Project Worker, has to make sure that everyone has the time and opportunity to make full use the Universal Job Match programme.
'She manages the group in a very good humoured way, always encouraging us but also making sure that everyone focuses on what they are actually here to do.'
Christine is a great believer in the value of numeracy and literacy.
'Reachout offers lots of great courses, but I'd personally like to see them push the English and Maths courses more, as I think that first impressions, in terms of how you communicate and express yourself, is everything when it comes to getting a job'.
Ultimately, she would like to be in a position to help others by teaching similar kinds of courses to those she accessed through Reachout.
In order to achieve her ambition, she hopes to study for a City & Guilds Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (PTLLS) qualification - even if she has to fund it herself.