12 October 2020

Michelle celebrates five years of a rewarding career in childminding

After being a stay at home mum for several years, Michelle Williams wanted to go back to work. But she needed something that fit in around her family commitments.

Michelle volunteered in a school to gain some experience. Although she enjoyed it, it made her realise that she wanted to work from home while her children were young.

She explains: “Before I had my children I worked in an accounts office but I wanted to pursue a different career. I love children so I got a placement in a school, doing everything from reading to the pupils to helping in the kitchen. It was great but I decided to train as a childminder so that I could look after my own children alongside others.”

Michelle, from Nantwich, signed up to a Level 3 Diploma in Childcare at Acacia Training. She says: “I enjoyed the course and really knuckled down and put the hours in, so I completed it in less than a year. The team at Acacia Training were really supportive and gave me the confidence to pursue my ambition of becoming a childminder.”

In 2015, Michelle officially registered as a childminder and she still works as one today. She looks after between four and six children every day, from six months old upwards. She says: “It has been an extremely rewarding career for me. I really enjoy looking after the children and watching them grow and develop. We go on plenty of days out, from the park to the beach, and no day is ever the same.”

Michelle adds: “My daughter is now 16 and is planning to do a beauty apprenticeship with Acacia Training. It’s great to see her pursuing her career dream now too.”  

Are you looking to start or develop a career working with children and young people? Discover our range of courses here.

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The shock and disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic has prompted many people to rethink their careers. According to a survey by the National Lottery, 42% of British people are considering a post-lockdown career overhaul.

For two women, beauty training has provided a great route for them to finally pursue their dream career. Ruth Johnson and Gemma Dudley both signed up to courses at the International School of Beauty Therapy this year and haven’t looked back.

They’re not the only ones. Clare Hancock, Centre Manager, explains: “We have seen a huge increase in enquiries for our courses over the last few months as more people look to retrain after being made redundant or to finally go for their dream career. Covid-19 has encouraged many to re-evaluate their work-life balance and future aspirations. People who have wanted a career in beauty for a long time are finally taking the plunge.”

Clare adds: “Access to funding, such as the Advanced Learner Loan and interest free finance, is also helping people to make that exciting step towards their dream career. It’s incredibly inspiring to see these learners enrol and thrive on our courses.”

Ruth’s story

NHS worker Ruth Johnson had dreamed of owning her own beauty salon for years but, like most people, day to day life and responsibilities always got in the way.

However, the coronavirus outbreak made the mum-of-three look long and hard at her life, career and happiness, and what she wanted to achieve.

So, at the age of 36, she decided to pursue her dreams and enrol at the International School of Beauty Therapy in Cheshire. She is now taking Level 3 Diplomas in Nail Technology and Beauty Therapy Massage and is delighted that she took the plunge.

Ruth explains: “I’ve always been interested in a career in beauty but never had that push to actually go for it. I’ve worked in admin, as a carer, a nursing assistant and, more recently, as an administrator in a hospital A&E department.

“However, this year something finally clicked in me. I like my job and my colleagues are amazing but working in a hospital and seeing first-hand the impact of Covid-19 made me realise how important it is to embrace life and go for what you really want.”

Ruth adds: “I called the International School of Beauty Therapy to ask about their courses and they told me they had some starting that week if I was interested. I listened to my gut and decided to go for it – and I haven’t looked back.”

Ruth applied for an Advanced Learner Loan to help with the course costs. She says: “The training has been absolutely great – most of it has been online so far but I’ve got to know everyone on the course and I’ve loved learning again.”

Ruth adds: “We met up for the first time this month, which was lovely. The tutors and students have really supported each other from the start, it feels like we’re a family.”

Once she has completed her training, Ruth plans to start building up her clientele before opening her own salon in the next couple of years. She says: “It’s such a thrill to be pursuing my dreams and I’m really excited to see where it takes me.”

Gemma’s story

Mum-of-four Gemma Dudley has worked in the travel industry for five years but, like many people, was furloughed in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. A few months later she told she was at risk of redundancy.

Gemma, 39, explains: “When I was first furloughed, I felt quite positive about it. I thought having some paid time off would give me the chance to spend more time with the children and get all the jobs done around the house that I wouldn’t normally have time to do working full-time as a travel exchange consultant.

“But as the weeks and months went by, it got tougher and tougher. I love my job so being off work and seeing the travel industry falling apart was really difficult.”

As time went on, Gemma started to re-evaluate her life and career. She had always dreamed of becoming a beauty therapist and had started a college course 11 years ago but then she became pregnant and didn’t finish her training. 

She says: “I’ve always wanted to go back to college and finish what I started but with four children aged between seven and 21, a full-time job and a house to run, I never had the opportunity. I was constantly running around and didn’t have any time to really stop and think about what I wanted.”

Gemma initially got in touch with the International School of Beauty Therapy in 2019 to enquire about training but was too busy to pursue it. So when the school contacted her this year to tell her about the current courses available, she was thrilled.

She says: “I finally had some time on my hands and I jumped at the opportunity. I enrolled on the Level 3 Diploma in Nail Technology and haven’t looked back. I am really enjoying the training so far and everyone is incredibly friendly and supportive.”

Gemma applied for an Advanced Learner Loan to help fund the course. Once she’s completed her training, she hopes to work as a mobile beautician so she can fit her work in around her family and other commitments. Her long-term goal is to open her own beauty salon.

She says: “I’ve signed up to do Beauty Therapy Massage next year and I plan to take the courses in self-tanning and eyelash treatments. I’m so glad I went for it and I’m really excited to see where it takes me. I finally feel one step closer to achieving my dream.”  

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She had been working in children’s services for about two years and knew that she loved her job, and the sector, but she didn’t have a clear career path. 

However, that completely changed after she completed the course. Amie explains: “I have dyslexia and dyspraxia and I’ve really struggled with learning in the past because I can become overwhelmed by all the information you have to process.

“However, the tutors at Acacia Training were incredibly supportive and made me feel like I was capable of achieving this qualification. It gave me the confidence to continue my learning and I went on to complete three Level 3 and two Level 5 diplomas. If I hadn’t had such a positive experience, I wouldn’t have gone on to do further learning.”

Amie adds: “The training opened a lot of doors for me and enabled me to pursue a role in senior management and climb the career ladder in the sector that I love.”

Amie moved from Team Leader to Deputy Manager, a role she worked in for two years before becoming Learning and Development Deputy Manager at Hexagon Care, a national provider of children’s services. She now oversees and delivers training.

Amie says: “A key part of my role is to liaise with our training providers and one of them is Acacia Training. They are just as supportive and committed to helping their learners to achieve as they were all those years ago and have had a really positive influence.”

Amie adds: “Acacia Training has done what it did for me 10 years ago and is continuing to grow our next generation of leaders and managers.”

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