Adults across the North East are being given the opportunity to study and develop their skills for free thanks to a range of virtual courses offered by Gateshead College.
The fully-funded upskilling programme is proving successful and helping to secure skilled jobs for people across the region including 30-year-old Robyn Shields, a mother of three from Byker in Newcastle.
Robyn recently completed two courses with Gateshead College – a Level 1 employability course followed by a Level 2 qualification that prepares students to work in adult social care. Robyn was then able to secure a job through Bolt Care, a healthcare recruitment agency that provides care homes and other adult care settings with professional and qualified carers.
Robyn said: “I couldn’t recommend Gateshead College’s free virtual courses highly enough. It enabled me to study and develop specialist skills while at home with my three young children.
“I have always wanted to get into adult social care, it’s been a long-time passion of mine, but I couldn’t attend classes in person during usual teaching hours due to my parenting commitments.
“With the virtual courses, once my children were settled on an evening, I could get my head down and learn. The support I received from teachers was amazing. No matter how many questions I asked, they were there every step of the way.
“I have learned so much and not only have I managed to secure my dream job as a carer, which I’m really enjoying, doing the courses increased my confidence and I’ve met some great new friends too.”
The courses are ideal for adults who may have lost their job due to the pandemic and are looking to change career fields – such as healthcare, counselling or retail – but need specific skills to do so. The programme also enables those looking for work to upskill at no cost with students able to complete courses in business administration, event planning and customer service.
Chris Toon, Deputy Principal at Gateshead College, said: “As a college we’re constantly developing new ways to help support people across the region to acquire new skills that will give them that employment edge to secure the job they want.
“We’re passionate about learning and equipping our students with lifelong work-ready skills that not only improve their employability chances but meet the needs of employers too.”
“The courses are free for people aged 19 and over and all learning is virtual which means they can be completed alongside other commitments.
“We provide a range of course options so there’s something suitable for everyone, offering a great chance to upskill at no cost.”