Applications are now being accepted for the next Cork City Partnership ‘Growing Your Potential’ course. The programme is aimed at giving a confidence and skills boost to women who may return to the workforce in the future, following a period of time working in the home.
The free online course offers support on a range of topics from confidence building to networking and digital technology. Experts also provide coaching on CV preparation, interview techniques and personal presentation for interview and the workplace, as they help to empower women to achieve economic independence.
Chief Executive at Cork City Partnership Brenda Cahill says research shows that many women want to build and refresh their skillset, but they’re held back by a lack of confidence: “Women often don’t realise the abilities they’ve built up working in the home. They’re so busy caring for others and running the home that they’ve lost perspective on how much they have to offer. This course helps remind them of how valuable their contribution is and would be to prospective employers”.
Employment Support Worker Siobhan O’Neill leads the course – she’s urging women to take the plunge: “We’ve all seen an opportunity and thought to ourselves ‘I’d love to do that’, but something always gets in the way. To those women we’re saying ‘Give us ten weeks and we’ll give you a massive boost in your self-confidence and vision of where your working life could take you’. This is your moment, the time you choose to put yourself first and work with us at ‘Growing Your Potential’”.
Antoinette Gibbons, a trained dental nurse who had been working in the home for 20 years, has returned to working in the medical sector since completing the course: “It gave me the confidence to say I wasn’t too old, I did have skills. Whether there was an opportunity in a shop, a factory or anywhere I had the tools to prepare my cv, figure out how and where to apply, how to make a good impression in an interview and more”.
Cork City Partnership’s PEIL project has demonstrated that when women engage in a project such as this, their outlook on their employment prospects and their interest in getting a job improves markedly. As many as 50% enter employment after participating.
Cork City Partnership can further support participants should they wish to use their new skills to find employment or start their own business.
“Growing Your Potential” is an initiative by Cork City Partnership supported by PEIL and the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform.
NOW OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS – Anyone interested in signing up for Growing Your Potential can visit http://corkcitypartnership.ie for more information. We can also be contacted by email at: email@example.com and by telephone: 021-4302310
Here are some testimonials :
“I had been at home for 20 years, I was afraid people would say ‘sure what can she do’”?
Antoinette Gibbons faced her ‘now or never’ moment as her youngest child was preparing to start secondary school. A friend had told her about the ‘Growing Your Potential’ course at Cork City Partnership. “It had been 20 years since I’d worked as a dental nurse and I was looking for something to do outside the home. It didn’t have to be medical, I would have tried anything once it fitted into my timetable, but my confidence was so low I didn’t know where I would start”.
Once she began the course, the leaders were able to reassure her: “Siobhan O’Neill and the team helped me to realise that running a home provides you with all these soft skills like planning, budgeting and more that I had really taken for granted. You get so caught up in organising everyone else that you don’t have perspective on what you’re capable of”.
Building up self-esteem is a big part of the process for the PEIL team, as Antoinette explains: “Doing the course gave me the confidence to say I wasn’t too old, I did have skills. Whether there was an opportunity in a shop, a factory or anywhere I had the tools to prepare my cv, figure out how and where to apply, how to make a good impression in an interview and more”.
Having got her confidence and jobseeking skills back on track, Antoinette is now working once more in the medical sector and hasn’t looked back: “To anyone considering working outside the home, no matter how long you’ve been out of the office or workplace, I’d recommend just go for it and sign up for the course. The team is so kind and supportive and they really do help in ways you can’t imagine. It’s been a massive boost for me and my life”.
“I was no longer just a mum or a homemaker, I was me”
Arlene Pope trained in her 20s as a laser therapist before focusing on caring for her son and running her home. A number of events got in the way of a planned return to part-time work and she found herself looking around for a course to expand her skillset.
“I was interested in adult literacy or maybe becoming a SNA in a school but I wasn’t sure how to go about it. I was put in touch with the team running “Grow Your Potential” and got a place on the course”.
Arlene says it was a great experience: “We had an amazing bunch of women working together. Our confidence levels were on the floor but the boost the trainers gave us was incredible. I’ve great memories of the mock interviews they arranged – some of us were so terrified! We all helped each other in getting the confidence going and it was such a positive experience”.
“After that, I was able to look at myself in a totally different way. It turned out, Siobhan and the team were right – we have so many skills that transfer to the workplace that you can put to good use in any situation”.
“I believe any woman who’s been working in the home should do the course. It gave me a sense of autonomy, and gives you back a bit of your own identity that you can lose when you’re at home. You’re also going to meet new people, make new connections and friends, so it’s a win-win”.
Arlene says people in their 40s and 50s can be very different to how they were in their 20s, so they may be looking for a different type of job. She believes ‘Growing Your Potential’ can help figure out what that might be, and says a line from poet Mary Oliver shared by a friend inspires her as she looks to the future: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life”.