Being a single mother-of-four is no obstacle for apprentice Cathy Jackson
construction, employment, qualifications
Being a single mother-of-four has proved no obstacle to 35-year-old apprentice Cathy Jackson. Cathy, from Wallasey, had not been for a job interview for 14, but passed her first to train as an apprentice painter and decorator with flying colours. She has now been with Wirral Partnership Homes for almost two years and with the help of training provider Scientiam is set to complete her Diploma Level 2 and NVQ Level 2 in painting and decorating this summer.
Cathy, who left St Mary’s School in Wallasey aged 18, is studying one day a week with Scientiam. She said: “The training s half and half really, we learn about theory and we also do practical work. There is the option after this to specialise in the Level 3 NVQ but at the moment we are getting a solid ground in learning all the basics.
“As part of the course we also have to gather work-based evidence, so I take photos and write up analysis of the projects I have been working on for Wirral Partnership Homes. “I really enjoy both sides of the training and it’s good to break up the week as I go to college each Wednesday. There are 20 learners in our part-time group and most of them are young lads, but we’re all there to learn and help each other so I’m happy to be part of the group.
“My Scientiam tutors have been brilliant along with my mentor Pat White and I’m very grateful for the course funding.”
Cathy had just gone back into employment, working at a meat-packing factory near her Wallasey home, when she saw Wirral Partnership Homes’ advert in a newspaper. “I had only been working for a few weeks when I spotted the advert, which didn’t have an age limit on it, and thought I didn’t have anything to lose by applying for it. Thankfully I made it through to get one of six places from hundreds of other applicants. “I’ve learned so much during the apprenticeship and feel lucky both to be working for Wirral Homes Partnership and to be training with Scientiam. Being a single mother-of-four I have had to rely on my family, who have been brilliant helping me with childcare, as well as the support of my employers and trainers. “I’d definitely like to do the Level 3 NVQ with Scientiam next. In terms of the future I’m just happy with the way things are going at the moment and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next in my job.”
Pat White, Cathy’s training development advisor at Scientiam, said: “We’re all working together to support Cathy and she is doing absolutely fantastic. She has sailed through the course and had her Level 2 portfolio completed in just four months, which is a miracle as some people can take up to two years. “Cathy is also exceptional because she as well as full-time job she has four children to bring up as a single parent. But she doesn’t moan and her attitude is spot on. On the site she is just like one of the lads and give as good as she gets! “I’m more than confident that Cathy will go on to the Level 3 NVQ and do extremely well; it has been a pleasure to have her on my caseload.”
Billy Minshull, Team Leader and Cathy’s supervisor at Wirral Partnership Homes, said: “Cathy is a wonderful apprentice. She’s currently working on the Investment Programme which deals with refurbishing people’s homes and she’s very good with the tenants – her customer care is excellent. “Cathy is a very versatile decorator and another positive is that as well as being a real team player, she shows initiative and can work well on her own. If she wants it, I believe that Cathy can have a very good career after she finishes her apprenticeship, she has all the attributes to go far.”
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