Single parent Shahida first visited her local Online Centre Learn.org to brush up on her IT Skills. Now, after 10 years as a stay-at-home mum, she’s a part-time digital skills tutor at the centre in Bradford, and an administrator at a local nursing home.
Before becoming a mum, Shahida, 47, studied at university and worked as a credit controller, but when she stopped working to raise her kids, she felt that people around her lost respect for her, leading to low self-esteem and poor mental health. She says: “As a new mum and single parent, I had stress and postnatal depression I had no-one to support me. After my second child, I never went back to work.
“I lost the confidence to go out and look for a job. I think a lot of mothers go through that. Technology moves really fast and if you don’t use it you become more hesitant and don’t think you are good enough. But I was lonely and had to get out of the house, so I volunteered with charities like Learn.org. It kept me busy and I was able to brush up my IT skills and to get my confidence back, so that I could start applying for jobs.”
As Shahida had been out of work for 10 years, the process of finding a job had changed greatly. She says: Uploading my CV, Universal Jobmatch, applying for jobs online - I had to learn all this through Learn My Way because I hadn’t used this before.”
After brushing up on her digital skills using the Learn My Way website, Shahida started volunteering as a tutor at Online Centre Learn.org. Later she was employed part-time run the sessions herself.
She says: “A year ago, I wouldn’t be able to sit here like this and talk to anyone - I’d be thinking “God knows what they are going to think about me”. Now when I teach my students, I can relate my story to them, as I understand where they are coming from. Some are single parents or parents with a low income, struggling to make ends meet, just as I was. To be there for one another and to be able to support them is really good.”
Shahida now has a second job at her local nursing home as an administrator having been recruited by someone who saw her volunteering at Learn.org. She’s also pursuing further training so she can work as a full-time tutor and change the lives of even more people in her community.
“I feel that everything is falling into place, I’m more focused on my goals going forward rather than looking back at where I went wrong. My journey has made me stronger. Compared to where I was a year ago, I’m more ambitious and back to where Shahida was - I’m back to myself.”