A Gainsborough woman has picked up a regional award for her journey towards becoming a self-employed accountant.
Ann Slater, 49, has been named as Lincolnshire County Council’s Learner of the Year at the Lincolnshire Show.
Ann, who has been unemployed for three years despite having good experience in hospitality, retail, administration and cleaning, is being supported in her journey by Riverside Training.
She left her last job in 2019 and was struggling to find work due to the coronavirus pandemic before being referred by her Jobcentre Plus Work Coach to Gainsborough-based Riverside Training, part of Acis Group.
Her situation worsened in 2021 when she became ill and was eventually diagnosed with osteoarthritis.
But inspired by her son who was planning to set up his own business, she was determined to make a success of herself and get her career back on track – in a totally new sector.
Ann started her learning journey with a Business Administration course in a bid to improve her office skills. It proved to be the kickstart she needed, with her enrolling on a further six courses at Riverside and igniting a fire inside her to go self-employed.
She’s now undertaking an accountancy and bookkeeping qualification at Lincoln College.
She said: “My dream is to become a self-employed accountant within the next two years. It’s hard but I’m so determined to achieve it.
“I know I’m 50 this year but they always say age doesn’t matter.
“The business admin course is what inspired me to be an accountant.
“I was doing all these courses and I thought I might as well do something with them. And I liked business admin and maths. So that’s when I thought about accounting.
“I wanted to broaden my horizon and put something different and more qualifications on my CV.”
Ann says she has been amazed by her own transformation and thanked the Riverside team for their support.
She added: “During covid, I was staring at four walls and not really speaking to anyone. It was really difficult. I’d always worked so going onto Universal Credit was horrible.
“Things are a lot different now. I didn’t think I had the brains to do something like accountancy before, but that’s changed thanks to the people at Riverside.
“Before, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to even stand up in front of people, never mind do all these courses.
“And I know I can pop in to see the team at any time to help
“Getting this award is hard to explain. I’ve never been recognised for anything before so it’s a bit of a different experience. I’m very thankful for being nominated in the first place.
“The Riverside team are fantastic and the courses are really helpful. They don’t leave you to struggle and they have helped me a lot.”
Riverside Training Employment Coach Emily Humphries said: “We are so proud of how far Ann has come to achieve her dreams. Ann’s motivation and determination have been evident in all the course she attended. It has been a joy to work with Ann and watching her gain more and more confidence each week.”
For more information on how Riverside Training supports people to achieve their potential, visit www.riverside-training.org.uk