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So who is Opportunity Access and what do we do?

Just over 2 years ago I had this idea to set up a business to help people gain and sustain employment and progress within their careers…so I did just that!  With the help of the Princes Trust, Opportunity Access Ltd came to life.

I didn’t want to just set up just another skills development training company.  I wanted to raise people’s aspiration, motivate, inspire, equip and give power to the people within their lives and careers. (A big task I know).

I know personally what’s it’s like to be unemployed. I know what is like to claim benefits, to look for jobs tirelessly and get countless rejections.  I know what it’s like to be made to go on mandatory training programmes and thinking this is such a waste of time.  I also know what it’s like to be in jobs and feeling unfulfilled, believing that you have so much more to offer, aspiring for more but due to lack of confidence, insecurities, fear, or for whatever reason, not going wholeheartedly after what you want.

In 2004 I was unemployed, having taken an extended gap year off at Uni.  Well I originally took one year off, however at the time I was living in a youth hostel and all these personal things were happening so I decided that after a year I didn’t want to go back, my mind wasn’t in a Uni frame of mind, so kindly enough the University let me take an additional year off.

 I had no clue at the time what I wanted to do, I didn’t even think that I would actually go back to Uni after my gap year was completed.

Throughout this period I was actively looking for work, I remember I use to look forward to Mondays because of the potential of recruitment agencies or companies getting back to me with a confirmation of an interview or to tell me they have put me forward for a job.

Newspapers and the internet became my best friend.  The youth hostel I was living in at the time didn’t have access to the internet,  so I used to have to go to the internet shop and job search, this was quiet costly especially when you’re living on £65 a week on JSA (Job Seekers Allowance). Every single penny counted.

When l think back to this period in my life, it was one of the most challenging, demoralising and depressing periods.  BUT I never gave up!

I had faith that things had to, must and will change, thinking back I don’t know where that faith came from but I stood firmly on it.

During this time, one day I got a call from a recruitment company.  “Which one is this one now?” I had applied for so many jobs, I couldn’t remember if this was a job I had actually applied for or if they just came across my CV on one of the many job searching  sites that I had stored it on.

The call was from an agency called Red Personnel (I wonder if they still exist I must check and see) and a lovely lady called Caroline had called me to come in and register with them.  I remember thinking “Ohhhhhh here we go” because by this time I had registered with loads of recruitment agencies but to no avail, so I was debating whether I should go and register with them or not. Not only that, but the cost to get to the recruitment company is one I wasn’t sure if I could afford. (Things were that bad).

In the end I went along and registered.  Red Personnel stuck to their promise and found me a temporary job as a receptionist.  I remember it was only for three months. I did think long and hard about taking it, however I thought, this is three months money that I can’t possible give up compared to three months of JSA money.

Whilst temping I met this lady Tanya. It’s surprising how instrumental Tanya would become in my life (and still very much is to this day).  She encouraged me to go back to university, even though by this stage I was 21, all my peers and already left university and I was actually kinda over it! However, she convinced me and I went back and completed my degree in Psychology.

Tanya taught me to believe in myself. She saw potential in me that I didn’t even know existed and she believed in me and inspired and motived me to discover the best version of me.

Leaving Uni, I kinda fell into jobs which were in a HR capacity and learned so much about recruitment, training and development (to name just a few). I was – and still am – so intrigued of how people got into their careers; I love hearing their stories of resilience, hardwork, determination or sometimes straight luck, if you can call it that.  I love reading articles and books about self-development.  All of this really helped me to become the person that I am today and still (daily) developing to be.

Combining my personal and my professional experiences, I really wanted to create a space that would provide people with this type of content. Content that enables you to believe in yourself, motivate and inspire you to be the best version of you.

So welcome on this journey with me and I hope that Opportunity Access Careers provides that space for you that inspires you, motivates you, encourages you to be the best version of you, enabling you to go after your dreams and providing you with the tools, resources and information to improve your lives and careers.

Christine Robinson

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