What impact did the Skills Bootcamp have on you?

Undertaking the bootcamp at the University of Birmingham was an opportunity to learn up-to-date skills that are relevant to the digital work environment, and therefore enable me to not only re-enter the workplace after 20 years, but enter into a new to me field, and feel that I can make a difference. To then be a finalist for the Midlands Women in Tech Apprentice Award was such an honour. People keep telling me that retraining into a tech field as a middle-aged woman is “inspirational”. I would argue it is simply taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves and not letting age or gender hold you back. Following the bootcamp I started a software engineering apprenticeship at UCAS, which has been a great next step from the bootcamp. Easing me in to applying my learning to the much larger scale of the work environment, and allowing me to contribute to helping create a new project within UCAS meaning that apprenticeships will eventually be available to applied to through UCAS.

How was the careers support on the Skills Bootcamp?

There was so much to learn about accessing the modern workplace. It has moved on a lot since my pre-parent days. Resumes have changed and are now far more concise. And building a brand around yourself was a new concept for me. The career services team took me through the best places to find jobs, prepped me for interviews, and did a great job of cheerleading to boost my confidence.

What did you enjoy about the Skills Bootcamp?

The boot camp was probably the most intense thing I’ve ever done, but I loved the challenge. Luckily, I met other people who were just like me in the program. It makes you more comfortable when you’re learning alongside others who’ve had similar experiences.

Why did you apply to the Skills Bootcamp?

I felt I had the skills for all of the jobs I was applying to, but they were wanting more work-based experience. That’s when my husband suggested I might enjoy coding. He knew I was a fairly creative person and loved problem-solving. After he showed me what some companies were doing in tech that aligned with my passions, I decided it was worth a try.

The boot camp concept felt like an amazing opportunity to start my reskilling journey. The fact that it was online meant I could still be around for the family. It was also offered by a well-known university. But the scholarship is what clinched it for me — I’m glad I took the leap of faith.