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Our People: A Positive Life Change

February 2018

This is the second in a series of blogs called ‘Our People’, in which we take a closer look at the people who make Aston Shaw what it is. In this blog, Louise Tiller a Bookkeeper at our Great Yarmouth office shares her story of how she found her way to Aston Shaw.

In 2014 I found myself homeless with three children: no marriage, no home, no job and no money. I had taken a career break to be a stay-at-home parent, this break had turned into ten years, so starting as a single parent with no recent work experience was tough.

I had a choice, I could let circumstances beat me or I could draw on the skills and resources I had within. One thing I had held onto was a desire for order and I enjoy nothing more than ‘listening to numbers’. Searching the library boards one day I found a six-week course for a Level 1 for the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT). It was funded by Norfolk County Council at Great Yarmouth Library. This led me on to a Level 2 course run at Wensum Lodge by Norfolk Community Learning Services. So, I persevered and earned a Merit in six months.

I did have a problem though: no referees. I took the advice of Women’s Aid and started asking around for a voluntary position. After another two years, I had gained enough voluntary experience, professional qualifications and confidence to apply for any position in accountancy. I was fortunate enough to meet Mark Noakes, Director of Aston Shaw who offered me a position as trainee Bookkeeper.

I am now self-funding a Level 3 AAT qualification and enjoying life to the full. We have a new home, schools for the children and I have a set of fantastic work colleagues that make me laugh every day. Who would have thought that three years ago I was so lonely?

Closing Thoughts

Have you faced redundancy, a breakup or some tragic event recently and feel like things just couldn’t get any worse?

In that case, I have good news for you… things can get better.

Lessons I have learned:

  1. Don’t give up! You have control of your direction.
  2. Take care of yourself. No one is ever going to do that for you. Eat properly, drink plenty and keep moving.
  3. Start searching for volunteer opportunities. Ask around. Maybe join St John’s Ambulance or offer your services in a charity shop. I found very helpful.
  4. Start thinking about what your strengths are. Is there anything you enjoy doing where time slips away? For me it was Maths. Think about your life and what you enjoyed at school. There are some wonderful career websites that I have found.
  5. Join an Agency! For some reason, I had always steered clear of agencies, but I found their help invaluable.
  6. Write a CV. It doesn’t matter what it looks like in the beginning. I knew I possessed some valuable experience and I felt a sense of pride just looking at it.
  7. Get the CV out there. The Director of Aston Shaw was impressed that I had targeted and written to all the local accountancy firms.
  8. KEEP GOING! It doesn’t matter how many people say ‘no’. It took me a long time to realise this is not a personal vendetta for the companies and I felt that they were rejecting me as a person. I am my own advocate and I know that I am valued because I tell myself it every day.

Louise Tiller

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