APPRENTICE star and vice-chairperson of West Ham FC Karren Brady answers all your career questions.
Today she shares her top tips on retraining for retail workers and juggling child care after maternity leave.
Q) I was made redundant last October aged 51, and I’m now looking for a new job. I’ve worked in retail most of my life and I love the interaction with customers.
However, I had an accident three years ago that’s left me unable to stand for even short periods of time without extreme pain. As there aren’t many jobs in retail that allow you to sit down, I feel like I need to retrain to improve my job prospects, but I just don’t know where to start. Do you have any advice?
Sharon, via email
A) Sharon, I’m sorry to hear about your accident and I really hope you are recovering well. It’s best if you start to think about what you want to do, the environment you want to work in, what will challenge you and the kind of job you will enjoy going to every day, then you can start to figure out what you need to do in order to work in your chosen field.
The world really is your oyster, and with a full career in retail under your belt, plus a proven track record, you can retrain in any field you like if that’s what you want to do. Think about the length of the retraining programme you would need to do for the entry-level job you want to get.
Contact your local college and see what courses they offer, as well as looking for online training, and check out government grants for further education as you may be eligible (Gov.uk/grant-bursary-adult-learners).
If you decide you want to stay in retail, it is a large industry with many different roles and not all require you to be on your feet all day, so try to stay open to all possibilities.
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Q) I’m due to return to work next month after having my first child, but I’m worried about what my job will now entail because of the pandemic. I haven’t spoken much to my colleagues, though I know they’ve all been working from home for much of the past year.
I don’t know how I’m going to juggle looking after a 12-month-old baby (especially if her nursery is closed or she gets sick) with coming back to a job that is likely now very different. Help – I’m really worried!
Lara, via email
A) Almost every new mother gets anxious when her maternity leave comes to an end and she goes back to work – this is completely understandable. And during a pandemic you will be wondering about what you’re returning to and how you will manage both your job and your child. Juggling a baby and a job is not easy, but many people do it – you just have to be super-organised.
First, ask HR for a Zoom meeting. Find out what changes, if any, have happened in the organisation and to your role. Reconnect with your colleagues and chat through what challenges they’re facing and how you can help when you return. Set a routine for you and your baby and share as many responsibilities as possible with your partner, if you have one.
It is also important to eat well, sleep well and rest when you can. And some of your colleagues will have children at home, too, so will know exactly what you are going through. Best of luck!
- Got a careers question you want Karren to answer? Email [email protected]
- Karren cannot answer emails personally. Content is intended as general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice
- Compiled by: Claire Frost
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