Courses put Barking mum on track for employment

A jobless mum is back on the employment ladder after completing a series of confidence-boosting courses at Barking Learning Centre.

Former personal assistant Pat Jones, 57, landed an interview to do clerical work after upgrading her skills with a three-month IT programme, “personal goals” lessons and a crash course in retailing.

The mother-of-one, who has been unemployed for three years, spoke to the Post as the country marked Adult Learners’ Week.

Pat, from Barking, said: “I had a gap and when I went to go back to work I found I had been completely left out by the technology. The IT and everything was completely alien to me.

“The courses have greatly helped me. I do not like not to work. I like to use my brain and meet people.

“The courses have given me a lot of confidence. It’s got me back on the ladder.”

Pat has worked in admin all her life – with Barclays Bank, a solicitors’ firm and as an assistant manager with a property firm.

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She then spent more than a decade working as a PA for a building firm in Enfield but this ended three years ago.

Pat has had difficulty getting back in the saddle but then last October she began taking the back-to-work courses at Barking Learning Centre in Town Square, which are backed by Barking and Dagenham College.

Pat also did work experience at fashion chain Peacocks and had an interview to do clerical work in Maida Vale last week.

She said: “Peacocks was on and off for three months. I liked it because I have never worked in a shop before.”