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Council apprentice Olivia Rooney – starting a job at Alec Reed Academy, Northolt

Opening doors to a new career despite COVID

“It has put me in a good position to start a career,” said one resident of Ealing Council’s Work West employment programmes – which, despite the coronavirus, are helping local people to upskill and find new work.

Work West has been there to help residents these past few months, whether they have been furloughed, made redundant or simply seen the lockdown prevent them from taking up jobs, leaving them in limbo.

Others, like Olivia Rooney (pictured above), have been helped to start a new career.

Olivia, 19, is starting a new job as a teaching assistant in September, after completing an apprenticeship at Ealing Council in August.

She went straight from doing her A-levels at school to taking up the one-year apprenticeship at the council in 2019 and said it has served as the perfect bridge to a full-time career, despite the six months of complications and interruptions caused by COVID-19: “I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship. The all-round experience is something you wouldn’t necessarily get by going to university.

“You are learning on the job rather than just through theory. And it has put me in a good position to start a career.”

Olivia will be working at the primary school at Alec Reed Academy in Northolt.

She did work experience at the school in the past and jumped at the chance when the teaching assistant vacancy came up, at just the right moment.

“It all happened quite quickly over the summer,” she said. “I have liked working in an office, but I prefer the idea of working with children and I’m really looking forward to it.

“It has been a quick year. I saw the apprenticeship opportunity at Ealing and decided to apply and it has worked out so well. I have organised and attended events and a lot of the skills will be relevant at the school. And I had to be involved in a number of online interviews at the council, because of the coronavirus, which helped me when I did my own online interview for the job at Alec Reed. It would have been a bit daunting otherwise but, because I had already done it, it was a lot easier.”

You can find out more about the council’s apprenticeship network at ealingworkwest.com – and can register your interest so you can be fast-tracked when the time is right, by emailing apprenticeships@ealing.gov.uk or calling 020 8825 6234.

‘As a result of COVID-19, I could not start work’

Marta Momot registered with Work West for support in February, with the aim of working in education or childcare. She said: “I was offered fantastic one-to-one support, and they let me know my career options and ways to get into the education sector.”

After being connected with a childcare recruitment agency, the Work West team helped Marta prepare for an interview to work at nurseries, which proved successful. And, through this role, she would be able to attain a Level 2 Diploma in Childcare to become qualified while gaining paid experience. But then the pandemic, and lockdown, struck.

She said: “As a result of COVID-19, I could not start work. Thanks to all of the support from Work West and Quint Education I am now studying until things go back to normal.”

Marta has consequently been working towards completing a range of courses, from child protection to first aid, to leave her in an even better position to further her career as soon as possible.

Help after being furloughed

Nahed Aziz was a part-time sales assistant when the pandemic hit; and was furloughed from her job. She contacted Work West.

Through one-to-one help, its In Work Support advisors helped her to update her CV and find suitable free training courses, including one in office computer skills. A course that particularly caught her eye was a level two diploma in customer service and, with her advisor’s help, she has signed up to study it at a local college. The advisor has agreed to provide Nahed with further support once she has passed her qualification, including with applying for new customer service jobs.

Nahed said: “I am really pleased to be able to upskill during this time. I am very pleased with the service I have received from the council and I will try my best with all this help to promote myself for a decent new job after my course.”

Here for you

Visit ealingworkwest.com to be connected to jobs, skills and opportunities in Ealing – from adult learning to apprenticeships; and from career advice to job vacancies. You can also contact the team by email at workwestadmin@ealing.gov.uk or by calling 020 8825 8486.

Councillor Jasbir Anand, the council’s cabinet member for business and community services, said: “These have been worrying times for many people, with concerns over their job security, or struggling to get in to work. Work West is here for you and can offer advice and support you to take the next step – whether that is to help you gain new qualifications, improve your skills or find a new job.”

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