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Laptop loan scheme helps single mum close in on dream nursery job

A woman from Wrexham is a step closer to getting her dream nursery job thanks to a scheme that allows people who are out of work to borrow IT equipment.

Sarah McCormick, 31, took advantage of a government-funded laptop loan scheme to complete qualifications which have put her in pole position for a career as a nursery assistant.

The mum-of-one was on Universal Credit for three years and working in retail but found her old job wasn’t flexible enough to allow her to look after her son and was referred to Communities for Work Plus (CfW+) by her work coach where she expressed her interest in childcare.

CfW+ is a community-based employment support service working to increase the employability of people who are in or at risk of poverty and who face barriers which prevent them taking up training and employment. CfW+ can provide support to help build confidence, gain work experience, learn new skills or re-write a CV.

Sarah said: “I really wanted part time employment or something that was flexible so I could be there to look after my son.

“I had worked in schools during my work experience when I was in school and I loved it, and always wanted to get back into working with children but I never had the skills or qualifications.”

Sarah was advised by CfW+ to apply for the National Day Nursery Association (NDNA) who were looking for participants to apply for their Childcare Works Project, which offers training and supported employment within the childcare and early years settings.

But due to being on Universal Credit for a considerable time, Sarah could not afford a laptop or computer of her own to complete the appropriate qualifications for the position.

Jo Pearce, Sarah’s employment mentor at CfW+ suggested that Sarah borrowed a Chromebook through the Digital Device Scheme.

“I am so grateful for the Chromebook loaned to me, it opened up so much more opportunity for me and I proved to myself by completing the qualifications that I am capable of the doing the job that I love,” Sarah said.

Sarah was able to complete a food hygiene and catering qualification as well as one in child safeguarding and secured a 16-week training contract with the Childcare Works Project.

“Due to the guidance from Communities for Work Plus and access to the Chromebook, I managed to secure the placement with NDNA and I loved every minute of it,” she said.

“It’s completely boosted my confidence, and I’ve gained so many new skills that I didn’t think was possible until working with CfW+.

“Not only has the digital device scheme given me the skills to get into the line of work that I have always been interested in, but it’s also given me the ability to choose flexible working hours so I can be there for my son.

Sarah has successfully completed her course with NDNA and is currently with an agency who are helping her get nursery assistant roles.