The government implemented furlough scheme did not only present changes to political economy, but also personal changes to those working within industries who had to, for the first time, close their doors to customer interaction. Like so many others Bradley McK found himself placed on furlough from his bar employment and presented with a mass of free time. Moreover, having graduated from Huddersfield University in July 2020, Bradley joined the swathe of students in similar situations; thrust into an economy heavy with unemployment and economic stagnation. Notwithstanding this, when presented with the opportunity to undertake a distance learning course with Release Potential by his work coach, the proliferation of further knowledge was of immediate interest to Bradley. He describes himself as ‘excited to expand upon knowledge’ that he had acquired throughout his academic career.
After undertaking the healthcare course with Release Potential, Bradley moved onto studying the digital course and then progressed to completing the customer service training. As well as learning new skills across each Bradley stresses the transferable skills between the three; ‘each provided me with a deeper understanding of legislation, and I learnt how I could apply this across different sectors of work’.
As previously ascertained, the social implications of furlough, as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, meant that thousands of people were isolated in their homes with a loss of, or reduction in, human interaction. Bradley stresses that the course ‘was uplifting’, expanding on this by highlighting that ‘it was a very welcoming environment…all the tutors are really positive and engaging’. Although online distance learning can appear an intimidating prospect Bradley contends that he ‘enjoyed working with a variety of people from all different backgrounds, with differing views and interests’. Furthermore, emphasising that the experience ‘made me feel like I could learn with anyone’ as the inclusivity of the group, spearheaded by the tutors, created a ‘welcome platform for discussion’.
Centrally, the Release Potential course, as Bradley contends, enabled him to ‘feel comfortable’ within interview situations. He maintains that the course ‘taught me how to use s.t.a.r and s.m.a.r.t objectives…these helped me structure how I answered questions in my interview’. As a result, Bradley has now successfully found employment as a Project Planner Technical Assistant with Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing. Reflecting on his interview experience he emphasises ‘the course allowed me to understand how to structure a job application in the correct way’. The work Bradley is now undertaking will see him deliver personal protective equipment (PPE) and the Coronavirus vaccination to people across Yorkshire.
When broached with the question of what advice he would provide to those looking into undertaking a course with Release Potential Bradley simply states, ‘do it…it is more than worth it’. In a reflection back on 2020 and his journey from a student, to an unemployed graduate and now a newly employed Project Planner Bradley emphasises ‘I always think you regret the things you didn’t do, and I regret nothing about this course’.