It wasn’t until I was made redundant that I realised how limited my computer skills were.
Over the years, I’d had a good number of two-day training courses at work on Word, Excel, etc and I thought I knew it all. But when I started going to agencies and was tested it turned out that I just couldn’t compete!
That was a bit of a blow, because I hadn’t realised I would have to reskill just to get an office job. To my way of thinking, it wasn’t like I was a machine operator or something where you need retraining on the latest version of whatever you’re using.
A girl in an employment agency finally explained it to me in a way I could understand.
She reckoned my big company training had been a bit lacklustre. She said that was quite normal in the good times but now things are tougher, she said I would need to be able to demonstrate much more extensive skills than I had ever needed to before just to get an interview.
She also said that I hadn’t kept up to date with Microsoft Office and that my 2007 version skills just wouldn’t cut the mustard.
So retraining became the priority.
I trawled Google for courses, thinking that the government would pay for my retraining and while I found some places that qualified for funding, I wasn’t impressed with the courses or the schools.
The problem was that if I had to compete for jobs, there didn’t seem much point in getting just the same basic skills as everyone else. I needed something that would help me stand out.
The dilemma here was that anything above the norm was going to cost me and I was scared of spending any of my dwindling savings.
Google kept throwing up Holborn Training, which operates the Pitman method in London and Manchester and even though I didn’t think I could afford them, I went to find out more and ended up taking their MS Office Fast Track diploma, which takes you to a high intermediate standard in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Access.
They calculated it would take me about 110 hours to complete my course, but as soon as I passed my Word exam, I took a test at an agency and got a temp job. Although my wages won’t cover the cost of my course for a while, I am pleased to be back in work.
And the good thing with the Pitman method is that you can study when it suits you during their long opening hours which include evenings and Saturdays, on a drop-in basis, so even though I’m working, I’ll still be able to earn my diploma.
So after getting over the shock of being told my computer skills weren’t up to scratch, I’m glad I decided to do something to help me stand out from the crowd. It paid off!
Published by Holborn Training.