From education to employment

Gateshead woman gains skills and confidence to get back into work

An unemployed Gateshead woman who left school with no qualifications due to being badly burned as a child – has got her life back on track thanks to specialist training.

Karen Noble, 56, was out of work for six months after suffering from depression following a family tragedy. But she was determined not to rely on benefits and is now employed after regaining her confidence and the skills she needed to search and apply for jobs online.

Gateshead’s Job Centre Plus referred Karen to Access Training on the Team Valley for support and a free IT and employability course.

Thanks to the training she has now won a job as a cleaner at Interserve, working at Boots stores.

Karen missed a lot of school when she was young due to being in and out of hospital for skin graft operations after a coal fire at home caused her night dress to ignite.

She has since struggled all her life with literacy and using computers.

Before being out of work for six months due to her mental health, she had previously been a carer for her mother for 13 years and worked as a packer and a cleaner.    

Karen said: “My trainer Michael was my rock. He was very, very helpful and he’s a credit to his company. He helped me with my CV and I know a lot more about computers now.”

Karen, along with others on the course, learned to create a CV tailored to their specific employment sector, gained skills to search and apply for jobs online and built up mock interview experience.

She also achieved accredited certificates in IT and Employability Skills.

Michael Crompton, trainer at Access Training, said: “Karen was brilliant – she was a very proactive learner. She was a bit apprehensive when she first came to the class but all the people on the course gelled really well and helped each other. Her confidence grew and she did very well.”

The IT and Employability course is free to anyone who is unemployed, in receipt of a state benefit and aged 19 or over. Most people are referred on to the course by their Job Centre.

Courses run 2 days a week over a seven week period from 9.30am to 4.00pm.

All the equipment and stationery are provided and there may be funding available to help with travel and childcare costs.

For more information contact Access Training on 0191 490 4651 or email [email protected]


Access Training has offices on the Team Valley in Gateshead. They offer a wide range of apprenticeships including social media & digital marketing, accounting, business administration, customer service, manufacturing, warehousing, IT, also management & team leading.

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