Lisa Mullan - Speech To Congress
Project Worker Lisa Mullan was invited to speak to a fringe meeting regarding learning at GMB Congress. Here's the transcript:
"Good afternoon. My name is Lisa Mullan. Please bear with me as this is the first time I have stood in front of so many people so I am very nervous.
To give a little background; I am 28 years old and live in Accrington, Lancashire. I have 3 children aged 13, 9 and 3. I was not lucky enough to have what most people would call a normal high school education. When I was 11 and just starting high school my mum was left disabled with a broken neck as a result of a domestic violence incident. This meant I was needed at home to care for her and my younger brother and sister.
When I was 14 I discovered I was pregnant and gave birth to Bradley just after my 15th birthday. As a result my schooling and home life was drastically affected. With limited support from my immediate family, due to the circumstances with my mum, I ended up going to a special school.
My teenage years were hectic to say the least. Being a single mum and having my own house at 16 as well as caring for my mum, my brother and sister and my son Brad aged 1. I had to take 2 cleaning jobs each morning before school to raise extra money for my family; this was a daily routine at that time.
My first experience with the GMB happened 5 years ago when I was made aware of a new adult training centre that had opened in town, The ACT Centre. At the time I was a single parent and struggling to find employment, ideally in an admin role as this would fit around my children and the daily school run. At this stage I had no qualifications and no work experience, therefore finding a job was impossible for me.
A close friend literally had to take (drag) me to the Centre for an appointment she had made on my behalf. I met Dave and was given the opportunity to discuss options available to me and how I could achieve my goals. I am sure Dave will remember that at the time I had a very low self esteem and no confidence in either myself or about my future.
If the ACT Centre had not been there I dread to think where I might be today.
I remember the feeling of fear and dread when Maxine had made the appointment - but looking back it was one of the most important decisions. She helped me realise and she really did save my life.
The Centre offered me an alternative to college - which was not my thing - I saw college as an intimidating place meant for others. The ACT Centre on the other hand was small, informal and somewhere I felt relaxed. I felt welcomed and important.
My first step was to sign up to an IT course, which then led to me completing my maths and English qualifications. Since then I have completed higher IT qualifications and most recently achieved a formal teaching qualification of which I am very proud. I have just signed up to an Information, Advice & Guidance qualification to begin in September.
Where am I now?
Well firstly I am proud to say that I am a working, fully fledged GMB member!!
I am a full time project worker at the ACT Centre working with GMB Reach Out in Accrington supporting people and sharing my life experiences with others. If someone had said to me 5 years ago I would be working full time and enjoying life as I am now and having achieved the things I have, I would have told them they were drunk.
The GMB has provided me with the opportunities to better myself, provide a better future for my family and achieve heights beyond everybody's expectations - but most importantly my own expectations. I have a hopeful future now.
I would like to thank everyone who has helped me so far along the way for their patience, confidence in me and for the skills I have obtained. All their support has been invaluable to me and I could not have done it without them.
Thank you and the GMB for inviting me to share my story and I hope you enjoy your conference week."