An opportunity to break new ground

A City of
Greater Geelong Facebook post promoting Opportunity East piqued the interest of
Whittington’s Alana Arbuthnot.

“It said
‘reskill, retrain and rebuild confidence’.

“That headline
grabbed me very quickly, because I thought that’s what I need to do, my skills
and previous employment are no longer relevant,” Mrs Arbuthnot said.

“I’m really
glad I saw the flyer.”

The 46-year-old
had largely been out of the workforce for 15 years, as she focused on caring
for her three children, including two who have a disability.

A return to her
former career was not an option, with her cinema projectionist role made
redundant due to advances in technology.

Mrs Arbuthnot
was looking to build on her one day per week casual work in IT when she
discovered Opportunity East’s Certificate II in Production Horticulture course.

“Now that my
kids are at an age where I can have some more time for myself, I’m very keen to
learn some new skills to get back into the workforce,” she said.

“We’re here with our hands in the soil. I
think we are learning practical skills that will help me find employment at the
end of it.”

The course
caters for people with family commitments, finishing at 3pm on both days of the
program, which are run at Encompass’ The Paddock and the Leopold Community Hub.

With class
sizes capped, the program aims to foster an encouraging and understanding
atmosphere among the 11 participants.

“It’s a very
supportive environment, both from the participants and the trainers,” Mrs
Arbuthnot said.

“I love that
I’m here and being supported to do something for me.”

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