Angela is a caretaker supervisor with her local council. She says her teachers gave up on her, but with the support of her managers she’s now in a senior role that she loves.
Name: Angela Ward
Chesterfield Borough Council (training with Qube Learning)
Industry: Local authority
Job role: Senior caretaker / supervisor
Length of time in role: 10 years
NVQ level 2 in Business Administration with Qube Learning
1. What was your very first job?
I was 17 years old when I got my first job making glass light shades and packing them. It was a very well-paid job for my age at that time. I had to work shifts and the only thing I didn’t like was working weekends. I learned to work as part of a team, which was important and made sure our work progressed efficiently. You need to get on with your colleagues, as you spend most of your day working together.
2. What did you want to do when you were at school?
I didn’t think much of my days at school because I was different to the other kids. I thought I was born thick, and that the teachers gave up on me. It’s why I didn’t get what I was being taught. Dyslexia was only just being picked up at the time and it wasn’t picked up at the school I attended.
3. How did you find out about the industry?
I found out about working for the council through my sister. I started working for my local council 25 years ago; it was only supposed to be for two weeks over the Christmas period. I then went on to cover more jobs over the past years until I got a permanent job as a caretaker. I then went on to become a caretaker supervisor which I really love doing.
4. How did you get to where you are today?
By learning on the job and doing training, like with Qube Learning, the national training provider. I’ve also gained experience from my other jobs, and was mentored by my work colleagues.
5. What is a typical day like?
Looking after a retail building, dealing with members of the public and contractors, making sure the building run smoothly and dealing with any issues that arise. There is also the fun side of the work, with the banter and jokes; that helps to balance the bad things that we must deal with.
Learn more: What is a mentor?
6. What’s the best thing about your job?
Working for the council has given me the opportunity to do lots of online courses and practical training. With the support of my managers, my confidence has grown. It’s also helped that I have contact with a wide and varied group of people.
7. What is the most challenging thing about your job?
Dealing with issues that crop up, for example if a member of the public is ill or has an accident, or if the fire alarm goes off.
8. What advice do you have for people who want to do what you do?
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. If you are given the opportunity to do a course or programme, then definitely take it. Your confidence will grow and you’ll be able to achieve so much more.
9. What’s the number-one most important transferable skill needed for your job?
You need to be able to work as a team and have great people skills. All of these really help make a professional environment easier!
10. How did you develop your confidence at work?
Always be yourself, stay professional and take advice when offered.
11. What do you wish you’d known before starting your career?
That I had dyslexia, so that I could have gotten help sooner and not been so hard on myself. I can achieve just as much as anyone else; I just needed a bit of help along the way.
12. Where would you like to be in five years?
Same as what I’m doing now; I love my job role but keeping up with training as there is always something new to learn and Qube Learning really helped me see what I could do and the kind of programme that can expand my skill set and knowledge.