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There are no ‘tricks’ to getting a job, but National Careers Service advisers can help you develop skills which will increase your chances of success. Their advice and support can change the way you search for work and ensure your skills are put to their best use. The following stories show how some people have changed their lives, with the help of National Careers Service advisers.

Returning to work after starting a family: Saheera’s story

“My job has given me a new lease of life”

Saheera, 44, came to England from Delhi in 1989. After starting a family, she was keen to find work but was nervous about re-entering the workplace.

She had been a secretary in a big Delhi export company, and after arriving in England worked as a temp for a short time before getting married and having her children. Saheera was worried about returning to work: “How would I cope with the technology? I didn’t even know how an office phone operated!”

Saheera’s National Careers Service adviser pointed out that there were lots of women returning to work, and that made her feel a lot better. The adviser suggested updating her business English, and taking a basic IT course. Saheera believes that having the chance to do plenty of practice interviews and aptitude tests boosted her confidence.

“All this helped me to feel better, though I was still very nervous when I went to the interview. I couldn’t believe it when I got a job working for my local NHS trust as an administrator. It was a fantastic moment. I’m so grateful to National Careers Service because my job has given me new friends, new skills - and a new lease of life.”

Keeping up with new technology: Linda’s story

“I realised you can update your skills”

Linda, 39, took a break from her career as a wedding photographer to look after her twins. When she was ready to get back to work, she found that technology had moved on.

“It’s incredible how fast technology changes”, says Linda. She had always worked on film and though she’d used a digital camera, it was pretty basic: “I knew I couldn’t be a professional wedding photographer any more - I simply didn’t have the skills.”

Linda heard about National Careers Service, but her expectations weren’t very high. “I couldn’t imagine anyone would employ a mother of twins with redundant skills”, she remembers. “I didn’t hold out much hope of a job that would make the most of my creative skills.”

But the National Careers Service adviser told Linda that updating her IT skills could open up new opportunities. She helped Linda find a course in digital photography that fitted in around the twins’ school day, and Linda really enjoyed it: “I realised you can update your skills - and that gives you confidence”.

Linda is now working for a photographic agency: “It’s a great combination of using my ‘old’ skills and my new ones - thank you National Careers Service!”.

Chasing the dream: Conor’s story

“My dream is coming true”

Conor, 26, had always believed his lack of qualifications would stand in the way of his dream: becoming a social worker.

He dropped out of school at 16 with no qualifications, and was working for a courier company when he saw an ad in his local paper for National Careers Service. Soon afterwards, he had an appointment to meet an adviser.

Conor told her about his ambitions, and she suggested doing a year-long Access to Higher Education course at his local college.

Conor is now doing an Access to Health and Social Care course. It involves studying at the college two evenings a week for three hours, plus some private study. The teaching methods are a mix of discussions, lectures, group work and practical sessions.

“It’s very friendly and relaxed”, says Conor. “I’m planning to apply to university to do a degree in social work, so my dream is coming true. I’m very grateful to National Careers Service because the adviser showed me that doors can open again.”