From a Prison Officer to a Teaching Assistant
I am now just over 50 years old, left school in the 80’s gaining 8 CSE`s, went to college for a year and gained a City & Guilds. On leaving education, I worked at my local sports centre, then changed job supporting adults with learning difficulties.
After a few years, I became a prison officer for nigh on 20 years. Unfortunately, I was medically retired due to being diagnosed with MS. I felt alone and not sure what I could do from here.
On leaving the service, I uploaded my CV to many a job site, the only company that thought I was worth something was Apex. A lady called Karen rang me to see if I was still looking for work, I was!!!
Why was an education company ringing me?
I had no experience working in schools or with children.
After a chat, we arranged a day and time to meet for a coffee to discuss my options further. Karen explained that I had plenty of transferable skills and I could begin to see that I could do a job in a school, but I needed someone to point this out. I had a trial day at a local special needs school to see if it suited myself and the school. Karen arranged everything and gave me an insight to the school.
I can now say I have been in my part time role on a permanent contract at this school for 2 years. My health and well-being are the best it has been and I love my job. If it wasn’t for Karen and her team at Apex, the insight and knowledge of special needs, her ability to see qualities that you don’t see yourself, I would probably still be looking for a job that is not there.
I moved to the UK in recent months. Before arriving here, Apex made contact with me on a number of occasions. My profile came to their attention after I had applied for a teaching assistant job via the local council website. From the moment I received the initial phone call from Apex I had a very positive gut feeling. I got a sense of great professionalism from them along with interest in what I was looking for in a job.
During the initial contact, we spoke about my education history & associated qualification. We spoke about my experience with working with typically developing children & with children that had complex special needs. We spoke about what kind of job would work for me & also one close to my new home.
I was anxious about finding work in the UK. Talking to Karen & Christie put me at ease very quickly. Their belief in me made me feel more confident in my abilities.
An appointment to meet with the agency was arranged before I moved over. Meeting the agency in person quickly after my arrival to the UK was incredibly helpful. The genuine care & concern that the agency have for their staff was clear to see from the off set.
Again we spoke about my career history, qualifications, trainings completed, aspirations for the future & what would work well for me in my new chapter. Something that I really appreciated was that Apex were looking for jobs in my area. They listened to the fact that I didn’t own a car in the UK & that I would like to get to an easy accessible school.
The meeting was productive, organised & friendly but always very professional. My essential documents were taken & copies made where appropriate. A handbook was given to me which was useful.
Payday schedule was given to me along with some training suggestions.
I left the meeting feeling very positive. Incredibly & to my delight, the agency phoned me the following day offering me a trial day at a special school in my locality.
On arrival to the school, it was clear that there had been comprehensive collaboration between the agency & the school before I started. Finding the right fit of client for the school is something that Apex truly value.
Apex phoned me that evening to check in & to see how the day went. The school had also been in contact with Apex. This rounded collaborative approach works very well & it is very inclusive for all parties involved. Since starting at the school, the agency has been great to keep in touch with me both via email & over the phone. This is especially helpful when in a new country & when things are changing for me at a fast rate.
The agency has offered very practical advice to me with regard to getting set up here in the UK, assisting me with my DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service).
I would definitely recommend Apex Education Recruitment to somebody that was in a situation like mine. I would also recommend Apex for someone that is potentially looking for a job in a new section of disability, e.g moving from care home or residential services etc.
Working with Apex is a great way to get work in the SEND area. Apex work with great effort to place each candidate in the right school, this could be in a mainstream school offering support to a child/young person in an inclusion model/framework and also on a teaching assistant basis in a more specialised setting, i.e. special school.