Paid collaboration with Working Wales
What do I want to be now my children are growing up? It’s something I’ve been asking myself a lot recently. When I was younger the only career I was interested in was being a journalist and I was privileged to spend a long time doing just that, with seven years in staff jobs and seven years of freelancing in both journalism and PR.
However, when I had my third child in 2014, it became increasingly hard to juggle freelance life and being mum to three young children and so I put my working life on hold. I also started writing Cardiff Mummy Says because I couldn’t ‘not’ write, and fortunately it soon became my job, and one that I could work on flexibly around my children too. Five and a half years on and Cardiff Mummy isn’t going anywhere anytime soon (I love it too much!) but now all three of my children are at school and I have more hours in which to work, I’m left feeling I’d like to get my career back on track.
The problem is, I just don’t know where to start. I don’t know what I want to do anymore. I don’t know if I want to step back into journalism or PR, something connected with social media, or whether I want to do something else entirely. I worry my skills and workplace experience are out of date. I worry about childcare issues and employers being sensitive to the needs of working parents. I don’t even know where to look for jobs these days. Plus, with advances in modern technology, there are so many jobs that didn’t even exist five years ago, I feel I don’t even know what’s out there anymore. All of this means my confidence about being in a workplace is at an all-time low and, although I want to embark on this next stage of my career, I’m finding it all a little overwhelming.
So that’s why I’m going to see a Working Wales adviser. Yep, seriously! I’ve not seen a careers adviser since I was in school… and to be completely honest, I’m feeling rather daunted about the prospect of speaking to someone I’ve never met before about my career. But having spoken to Working Wales, they’ve assured me one of their advisers will be able to help provide me with all of the tailored advice and support I need – from helping me work through what exactly I want to do, to CV writing and interview techniques, to advice on funding for training and even courses to help boost confidence – and so I have an appointment booked next week.
Working Wales was launched by the Welsh Government last year, and is an employment service delivered by Careers Wales, and backed by the European Social Fund.
Their priorities are helping people get back to work and to help them navigate any barriers that might be preventing them getting into employment. That could be a health problem or disability, redundancy, or, as in my case, returning to the workplace after time out and fathoming out childcare, confidence and updating skills.
Although Working Wales only launched in May 2019, by December they had already supported 23,326 adults and 5,135 young people.
By the end of March 2020, they want to up that figure to 42,000 individuals, plus a further 8,000 via digital support.
As well as having more than 30 centres across Wales and operating out of JobCentre Plus, community venues and hwbs, Working Wales can also be accessed over the phone, via web chat, on social media and by visiting a centre. Advisers can also meet customers in locations suitable to them, such as local coffee shops or community centres. This is great news for parents in particular – now my children are in school it’s easier for me to attend one of their centres, but a few years ago, meeting in person would have been a stressful challenge in itself.
I’ll be reporting back on how my meeting with the Working Wales adviser goes, both here on Cardiff Mummy Says and also on my Instagram Stories, but in the meantime, I’d love to hear your experiences.
Those of you who have returned to the workplace after having a childcare break, or after having been working in a home-based flexible role, what advice would you give me? And those of you who are looking to return to work, what are your worries, and what barriers are you facing? I’ll be putting your questions, as well as my own, to Working Wales, and will be sharing their guidance in the coming weeks.
If you’d like to find out more about Working Wales, call 0800 028 4844, visit a Careers Wales centre or visit the website workingwales.gov.wales