A Cardiff mum whose employer’s ‘practise what you preach’ attitude to workplace training helped her get back into full-time employment is calling on Welsh businesses to make every week Adult Learners Week at their own place of work.
Anita Page was a full-time mum for 13 years before returning to study for a NVQ in IT at the age of 35 and hasn’t stopped learning since, after the organisation that delivered the course offered her a full-time position as a result.
Anita, 41, now plays an integral role in the day to day running of ACT Training which, as Wales’ largest training provider, exists to promote lifelong skills development not only amongst adult learners referred to them from elsewhere, but within its own core staff too.
As such two thirds of workers directly employed by ACT are currently engaged in work-based training, while all new members of staff are required to complete mandatory training in safeguarding and other workplace disciplines too.
Anita, a data administrator from Tremorfa, said: “When my son reached high school I realised I didn’t have the necessary IT skills to keep up with him and his course work, so when the Job Centre referred me to ACT. I just wanted to scrub up on my ICT and basic skills really.”
“All I had ever known before I became a mum was hairdressing, and it was hard to imagine myself working in any other field, but since then I’ve also completed my customer services and business admin qualifications and even passed my driving test thanks to the confidence and additional resources my new career has given me.”
Anita continued: “I can’t explain how much adult learning has helped me reintegrate myself back into the workplace full-time, within a role I had very little knowledge of before, and how important Adult Learners Week is to me therefore.”
At ACT, encouraging ongoing development amongst its own workforce not only helps give employees greater job satisfaction internally, but also enables staff there to empathise more deeply with the adult learners they work to assist too.
As such Bridgend resident Rachel Ellis was also supported by ACT in mapping out the route from geography degree to career success. The 29-year-old had no idea what the journey to employment had in store but succeeded in negotiating her way to a successful career in marketing thanks to the foresight and ongoing support of ACT Training.
Marketing officer Rachel said: “When I finished my geography degree I had no idea what came next for me, but after landing an entry-level administrative role with ACT Training ended up managing a team of six administrators within the workforce there.”
“During this time I was also supported to sign up for my level 3 management qualification at the Cardiff Skills Academy, to develop my managerial skills further, and when a role became available within the marketing department I decided to go for it.”
Rachel continued: “Taking on the extra training gave me the confidence and transferable skills to move into an area I had always been interested in, and I’ve found that the training has continued to benefit me in terms of managing time and workload in my current role too.”
Established more than 25 years ago, ACT Training has centres across Wales and a range of training opportunities including traineeships, apprenticeships, higher apprenticeships and essential skills training in numeracy and literacy.
ACT Training’s Managing Director Andrew Cooksley said: “We help a great deal of businesses actively invest in the skills of their workforce and support a number of adult learners to develop professionally on an individual basis too.
“Such skills development has become increasingly relevant of late as the UK economy looks set to strengthen further, and employers look towards their workforce to help them make the most of the economic upturn.”
Andrew continued: “Events like Adult Learners Week are vital in reminding us all that a life-long approach to learning should be commonplace in every workplace – and not just something we think about once a year, but all year round.”
For more information visit www.acttraining.org.uk or call 02920 464727.