Curo resident Katie is a single mum of two young boys who had been working part time as a barmaid. Katie contacted our Work Wise Team back in 2016 because she wanted to get experience as a painter and decorator.
"Last summer I needed to redecorate some of the walls in my house, so I started stripping the walls,” explains Katie. “I couldn’t afford to plaster them so I relined them to get a flat surface and put up the wallpaper. I found this very relaxing and discovered that I had a real flair for decorating. I guess it’s always been there, but until then I hadn’t done anything about it. I didn’t have any qualifications and wasn’t sure how I could begin my new chosen career."
That’s where Curo came in. With their help Katie started a placement as a painter and decorator with Burnham Plastering & Drylining.
"The first day came and I was nervous… very nervous! I wasn’t sure what it was going to be like but I shouldn’t have worried – I have never been met by a friendlier group of people. So far I’ve learned more about myself, bringing out my confidence and increasing my knowledge of painting and decorating. My mentor Paul has been fantastic and really understanding throughout.
"I’m so very grateful for the chance to do this work placement and to meet such warm and understanding people. From day one I was welcomed as a member of the team and if I had a problem I only had to ask and someone would help. I’d highly recommend a work placement.”
Throughout the work placement Curo stayed in close contact with Katie and her mentor and received positive feedback from both parties. Katie impressed Burnham so much that over the summer she was offered the chance to start an apprenticeship or go self-employed with the company.
"It was a hard decision for me," says Katie. "I knew I could gain qualifications through the apprenticeship but I had to consider childcare as it would be full time. Going self-employed would give me more money and the flexibility I would need. So self-employment was the option I have taken.
"Burnham have been really helpful in offering all the support I need to be able to do this. They’ve also offered to put me forward for courses so I’ll still be able to train while working.
"I’m so thankful to Paul, Neil and Louie at Burnham for having faith in me and offering me a job with them.
"I also want to thank Ramona and her colleagues at Curo for all their help and support through placement. I didn’t know which direction I was going, but they’ve helped me down the road to my dream job."