New skills, new confidence and a new job
30 Jan 2017
When 61-year-old widow Jenny Bayliss moved from her home on the outskirts of Burton to the centre of town, she found herself unemployed, on job seekers allowance and her confidence was lower than ever. But a chance encounter with the team from Citizens Advice East Staffordshire set her on a digital skills journey that turned her life around.
After suddenly losing her husband in 2014, Jenny decided to move into the centre to be closer to her children as well as the local amenities.
Making the move meant Jenny had to give up a few things, including her job as a cleaner. She had to go on job seekers allowance while she was looking for new opportunities.
After seeing an advert at a job fair, Jenny visited Citizens Advice East Staffordshire - a member of Good Things Foundation’s Online Centres Network, who provide free, confidential and impartial advice, as well as computer skills sessions to help people improve their lives through digital.
Jenny explains: “They told me about their classes and about Learn My Way. I thought it sounded really beneficial for me. I’d used a computer before but I didn’t know much at all. They made learning digital skills sound like something I could do - something that would be achievable for me.”
Jenny hadn’t considered learning digital skills before as it wasn’t something that had come up for her.
She says: “When I started learning I was amazed by all the things I could do. Once you’ve got the jist of using the internet, that makes searching for jobs online a lot easier.”
After completing her learning, Jenny began volunteering at Citizens Advice. Jenny says: “When a job vacancy came up at Citizens Advice, one of the girls encouraged me to apply for it - and I got the job!”
Jenny is now the Digital and Learning Assistant at Citizens Advice. She’s built up a rapport with, not only learners but other organisations, so they can work together and achieve more.
Jenny says: “To be honest, I didn’t go out enough. I needed to get out and meet people and the classes were my door to doing it - my opportunity. Since going there and developing my digital skills I’ve become a lot more confident and outgoing.
“When I started out I really didn’t think I would get this far. It’s just amazing that I’m where I am now, doing what I’m doing. Without Citizens Advice’s help, I don’t know where I’d be - just plodding along, I guess!”