BERNIE Davenport, 60, still turns up to work bright eyed and bushy tailed, after five years at Bright Futures.
Working mainly with job centre referrals, and occasionally probation referrals, Bernie says ‘I like what I’m doing, people are nice. [I] get a lot of support’ and that she ‘loves making a difference’.
The centre itself is for adult learning, offering a diverse amount of courses from security to retail, with the main aim to give people the skills for employment. Some people have been out of work for six weeks and some 10 years; in one case a person had been unemployed since 1977.
Bernie does a lot of travelling to present courses; a lot of these take place in coastal towns such as Clacton, due to high unemployment rates.
Sometimes companies come to the centre to ask for a course to be created, and Bernie spoke of a time where Eeon approached them for customer services. She described it as ‘nerve-wracking’ as the area manager for Eeon was there watching for the two-day course.
Although Bernie is happy in her job, she says that you have to ‘harden up a bit’ when dealing with people who have failed the initial assessment. When joining the course, you take an English and Maths assessment. The centre mostly works with E1-E3 (Entry Level) learners.
People on the course get tutor feedback as they would in the education sector. Bernie says that giving positive feedback, where needed, ‘Makes such a difference to their state of mind’.