Gateway’s “skills escalator” takes Farzana to the top

farzanaWe were thrilled to find out this week that two of our Pregnancy Outreach Workers have been accepted to begin degree courses in Nursing.  For both Lynette and Farzana this has been a long term ambition  and the culmination of a long journey, as Farzana explains…

Farzana joined us six years ago as a Pregnancy Outreach Worker (POW), but her story starts years before that, when she took a level one Community Family Worker (CFW) course with Gateway.

“It’s been a long term ambition of mine to get into nursing, but I was a housewife with four kids – there was no way I was going to be able to study full time,” says Farzana.

“When I saw the Gateway Community Family Worker course being advertised, I jumped at it. Studying one day a week at a local Children’s Centre meant that I could fit it in to my routine. There were assignments and modules, but I could fit them around my family life.”

It took Farzana three years to do the CFW levels one, two and three. After completing the level three qualification, she applied for a role as a POW and joined Gateway full time. But she continued studying and working towards her life goal.

“Whilst working as a POW, Gateway offered me a secondment to do a foundation degree, followed by a BA Honours, so I’ve been working and studying for the last six years.

“It’s been really tough but I wouldn’t have been able to do it if it wasn’t for Gateway; they’ve given me a great opportunity. I’m not just gaining valuable, real life experience in the community, working with vulnerable families, but I’ve been able to carry on with my education and do what I’ve always wanted to do.”

Farzana is a great example of everything we mean when we talk about our “Skills Escalator”. Helping people to get through the different stages they need to access their chosen career is one of the initial and key concepts of Gateway. We feel that, by spending six years getting first-hand experience whilst studying, Farzana will have a more rounded understanding which will equip her well for her role as a nurse.

Nursing is degree based, which can narrow the entry for people who take a non-traditional route. Giving up work to study would financially exclude many people,

Farzana is now in a position to study nursing full time and she’s been accepted onto a nursing course at Birmingham City University.

“Usually you work somewhere for six years and that’s it. Working for Gateway is completely different – they’ve given me 100% support with my career and I’ve really got something back. It’s like a ladder that you can step onto – and if you want to climb to the top you can.”

Watch Farzana talking about her achievements: