I left school at the age of 16 with high hopes of being a Chef at a top restaurant! I started a catering course at Pontypool College which should last two years. I really enjoyed the course and couldn’t learn enough. I only managed to finish the first year as I met a boy who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, and fell pregnant, which meant I couldn’t finish the second year of my dream course.
I had another two children and after spending 21 years being a full time mother, not needed by my children any more, in 2009 I decided it was time to get back out there and find something to occupy my time.
Someone told me there were lots of things going on at the Garnsychan Partnership. I called in there to see for myself. They told me about a Pensioners’ weekly cooked dinner that needed volunteers, so I started volunteering that week and really enjoyed it.
The Partnership then put me in touch with Job Match and between the two of them they helped go on various courses which would help me back into a catering career. Over the following few months I gained certificates in Food Safety, First Aid At Work, Healthy Eating Through Practical Cookery Level 1 and Community Food and Nutrition level 2.
The only thing I needed was to be able to use computer and catch up with today's technology.
Luckily for me an I.T. Course started at the Partnership. I joined the course and when I started my first IT lesson I didn’t even know how to turn the computer on. The tutor was really nice and easy to learn from, which meant I learned things really quickly.
First I learnt how to shop on line and send e-mails, this allows me to make produce orders and confirm them by e-mail. Next I started learning how to use Microsoft Word and PowerPoint which gave me confidence to make up my own menus, create letters and a CV. I also leant how to create slide shows and presentations using my own photos. I couldn't believe how much I learnt so quickly. We also used the internet for job searches and I started applying for jobs on-line and started getting interviews.
I now have 3 jobs, one in a successful pensioners’ Lunch Club where I use my I.T. skills to order all the food on line and create menus and information sheets. My 2nd job is in a school canteen helping to feed the children and a 3rd job in a local café where I also make up the menus using the computer. I also use the computer to find lots of new ideas on the internet for my menus and great recipes to follow.
I now have my own laptop and apply for jobs on-line and do loads of things for my friends and family. I couldn't even imagine not being able to use a computer and the internet now. What would I do with all my photos and music!
All thanks to the Garnsychan Partnership, and the Microsoft Learn to Win project, which brought me back to work and into the 21st Century.
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