Group helps Hellesdon woman return to work after 27 years

A Hellesdon woman has landed her first job after a career break of 27 years, thanks to the help of a tailor-made employment programme.

Karen Dolby read about Broadland District Council’s Choices programme in the newspaper and wondered if it could help her get back into work.

Having stayed at home to raise her family for more than a quarter of a century, Karen felt she had nothing to offer a prospective employer.

But just weeks after finishing the Choices programme and one week after starting work experience, she got a permanent job with TLC Dinner Choices, which runs the cafes at the Sprowston Community Hub and the Vauxhall Centre in Norwich.

“I had no words – it was only a week after I had started work experience and I was being offered a job,” said Karen.

“I remembered being on the Choices programme and thinking ‘whatever will I do work-wise when this is finished?’ I didn’t think I had any skills to offer.”

The programme helped Karen identify her transferrable skills to build up her CV. She also completed courses in food hygiene and basic computer skills.

“I am really enjoying being back at work,” said Karen.

“It’s meant a lot – it’s given me my independence and now I am out at work everyone is helping out at home. My husband and children are really proud of me.”

Broadland District Council’s Choices programme aims to raise the aspirations of anyone who has been out of work for a long time, through improving CVs, English, maths and computer skills, as well as boosting confidence.

It offers a personal approach to getting people back into volunteering or work experience and give them the confidence to apply for jobs.

Cllr Stuart Clancy, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development at Broadland District Council, said: “We are pleased to support our residents into work at any point in their lives and offer a range of services to help this.

“Everyone is important and has something to offer and our Choices programme helps develop people’s talents. We are extremely proud of Karen and her achievements and wish her every success for the future.”
A new course is starting on February 20 at the council’s training centre, Carrowbreck House, in Hellesdon.
Anyone interested should contact Economic Development officer, Jane Bagley, on 01603 430449.

Karen Dolby, who has got her first job in 27 years.

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