M. A. – Civil Service learner

M had been unemployed before joining the programme. Hoping it would help with improving skills and making applications, M joined to help improve their chances of gaining employment! M has said that the course has helped them, especially with learning how to use the use of the STAR method to make responses more descriptive and professional. Since finishing the course, M has gone on to gain employment in a role based around helping people, and though M has asked us not to name the jobe role for security reasons, we wish M the best of luck with all their future endeavours!

What were you doing before you started the programme?
I completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Health and Community Studies, at Coventry University. In terms of employment, I worked for OICO Recruitment during the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games as a Marshall, helping to manage crowds and traffic safely during the event. I was unemployed before starting the course.

How did you find out about the training?
My Work Coach, Auzma, at Sparkhill Job Centre in Birmingham told me about the course. She explained it could help support my efforts in trying to secure a Civil Service job

Why did you decide to join?
I thought it was just what I needed, would bring qualities I had to the fore, help me make professional applications, and improve my chances of gaining the type of employment I was looking for.

What did you think of the training? How did it help you?
It was a good mix of informal and formal delivery. I enjoyed the daily quizzes, which got my mind focused at the start of each day in a fun way. My interview skills were not up to scratch when I started the course, but the course helped me, and I got better. The opportunity to review interview techniques and learn the STAR method helped to make my responses more descriptive and professional. This was a highlight for me. I learned to give answers in more detail than I had previously, and this helped me the most. Gabi from Release Potential gave me a lot of guidance and support. Understanding the importance of confidentiality has also helped me in my current role.

Were there any barriers or obstacles you had to overcome?
My confidence was low. I had received a lot of job rejections despite being a recent graduate. The course gave me the ability to tackle interviews with confidence moving forward.

What are you doing now?
I’m now employed in a full-time role with the Civil Service, for one year in the first instance. Once my induction is completed, the role will be hybrid working split between home and office.

What impact has the training had on your life?
The impact has been very positive. The support I gained with interview practice and technique was key for me and learning how to answer questions more descriptively. It definitely played a part in me getting my new role and gave my confidence a boost.

What are your plans for the future?
For now, my focus is on doing well in my new job. My degree is based on helping vulnerable people and supporting them to make a positive contribution to their local communities. My new job role is also about helping people. In the future, I’d like to try and combine my studies and experience from my job with travelling. If I can, I’d like to explore potential opportunities with organisations such as UNICEF and the World Health Organisation. I’m trying to follow a path to make my dreams reachable.

What would you say to someone who was thinking about doing the training but wasn’t sure?
Don’t think twice! Go for it! It only lasts for two weeks, but in that limited time you learn a lot. For me, it was as a win-win situation.

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