Tell us a bit about yourself – background, where you are in your life?
I’m Katrina, I’m from Scotland but have lived in Reading now for 15 years. I am married with three girls and life is full of exciting prospects. I gave up my role as a Change Manager when I had my second daughter as the travelling and stress were having a negative impact on my wellbeing. After my third daughter I began work as a teaching assistant in KS1 but after seven years I felt I needed a bigger challenge. When I enrolled on the Digital Skills course I aspired to start my own business as a VA. I was at a bit of a crossroads as I need flexible hours and starting my own business was a scary prospect – to be self employed or look for employment, that was the question!
Did you enjoy IT at school?
There was no IT at school when I went 1982 – 1986! When I went to college on a secretarial studies/shorthand course, we used electronic Brother typewriters and word processing was a new concept which you had to basically code in order to send out a mail shot!
How did you find out about Digital Gum?
I received an email and I remember thinking that this course was exactly right up my street as I desperately needed to learn some digital skills. I plucked up the courage, called Louize, went along for a chat and signed up as soon as I got home.
Whats’ excited you most about Digital Gum?
Meeting the team of fellow digital explorers, it gave me purpose again and I realised how much I missed working in a team and socialising with others. The course taught me so much, things I never knew existed. We had the opportunity to see virtual reality in action, 3D printing, social media content creation, Wordpress websites, coding and interview skills. The guest speakers who came along were awesome and very inspirational.
Where do you go for career or business advice? Do you feel well supported?
I ask my friends and family and if I am meeting entrepreneurs I am always interested in their journey and ask for any advise they can pass on.
Who inspires you in the workplace?
Louize Clarke the creator of Digital Gum as well the many other roles she has - is a great inspiration – she is full of positive energy, knowledge and passion. She has become a great mentor to me and I value her support immensely. I am impressed by everyone who has started up their own business – it takes courage, enthusiasm and determination, all qualities I admire most in people.
What’s next for you once you complete Digital Gum?
I plan to put my new digital skills to good use. Clockwork Cat is now up and running and I am working with new clients offering support where they need it most. I recently had an opportunity to interview with one of the 50 Game Changers for a role in digital marketing – I am now working with them to put in place a digital marketing strategy for their business and fingers crossed, I will implement and manage their social media going forward.
I am very proud of my achievements so far and at the age of 48 have completely turned my life around and began a new career – one which, until I went on this course, I never knew existed!
What would your advice be to someone thinking about signing up to Digital Gum?
Go for it – Have confidence in yourself, you will learn so much about new technology, impress your kids and have great fun learning and meeting fellow team members. This course was a life changer for me – what will it do for you? – you won’t know unless you try.