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Need to earn more money to counteract lack of tax credits

(10 Posts)
deb24mea Sat 20-Feb-16 17:04:15

I am a single parent with 2 children. In a couple of years my tax credits will stop due to their age. At the moment I work part time in a school office, but need to up my game and get some experience in the private sector, so that when my tax credits come to an end, I can still afford to pay the bills/mortgage etc. I have recently been told that my hours are to be cut as of Sept 2016, so now I really need to be finding an alternative career. I had a career break for over 10 years whilst bringing up my boys (I was still married then). Prior to that I worked as an Insurance Claims Handler, but that doesn't pay enough for me now. Ideally I would like to be a PA, but according to the job agencies I need experience in the field. I am not sure if I should be doing a PA course at college or home study, or try and get a lesser paid job in an office to gain some general office experience whilst I still qualify for tax credits, so that in 2 years, I will be more experienced. The whole thing is really daunting. It was not my choice to be a single parent and for life to be the way it is. I am finding things tough. Any sensible suggestions as to the best way forward would be much appreciated. How do other people survive after their tax credits stop? Thank you.

thesandwich Sat 20-Feb-16 17:09:36

There are some great free and cheap on line courses out there to boost skills- Google do some, learn direct and others- and groupon do some great online courses like excel for £19 ish.
Could you look to gain voluntary experience with a charity? Good luck.

deb24mea Sat 20-Feb-16 17:39:31

Thank you for that advice - I will take a look at on-line Excel courses - that is one of the skills that I lack! I will also check out local charities to see if they need any free office assistance. That is possibly something that I could consider during the school holidays.
Much appreciated!

thesandwich Sat 20-Feb-16 18:01:49

Great! They also have some pa skills courses- no idea how good but worth a look?
Excel is a great skill to have! Good luck!

deb24mea Sat 20-Feb-16 18:26:18

I've looked at PA courses but when I rang job agencies to see what employers were looking for they didn't recognise the courses at all and said it was all about experience!

KP86 Sat 20-Feb-16 18:44:52

Don't forget your life skills: being a mum and running a household is very much like being a PA to three or four people all at once!

As long as your computer skills are totally up to date (MS Office, Outlook, Internet, good typing speed), you are organised, are good at getting things done, then that's a PA's skillset right there.

deb24mea Sat 20-Feb-16 21:24:12

Thank you for that ... it's the office skills I lack. Working in a school is different to the "real world "! We don't use Excel and only basic Word really. No PowerPoint. No idea what else I might need. But yes, you are right ... totally organised, can multi task and can stick to a budget!

thesandwich Sun 21-Feb-16 10:16:46

Studying excel/ word/ PowerPoint and maybe looking at publisher/ access for databases on line would be great preparation and show initiative. Look at Google on line free training too. Digital garage?
There are sometimes great courses run by organisations like wire( women in rural enterprise) dd did a Wordpress one day for £49. Or your local college?
Good luck!

justjuanmorebeer Sun 21-Feb-16 10:30:19

If you are a UNISON member please contact your branch about free courses. There are lots of free distance learning courses right now that you could do from home in the evening. Mostly level 2 but they could give your CV a real boost to get other sorts of jobs.

If you live in a place with a university keep an eye on their website as even admin jobs in universities are quite well paid.

Do you have much experience face to face with the children in your school or were you exclusively office based? You could register with an agency to do a day or two supply teaching assistant or cover supervisor work.

Would working a Saturday day in a cafe/supermarket/shop boost you enough? How much more pcm do you need to bring in?

Mumoftwoyoungkids Sun 21-Feb-16 23:05:16

I know you say you don't use Excel but do you have excel on your computers? Because if you do then it is time to start using it - even if it is just to record who has and hasn't paid this weeks tea money.

People are terrified of Excel but excel is actually ridiculously easy. It is a chart. Just like the ones you made at school on the back of your homework book with a list of boys names on one side and scores out of ten how fit they are on the other.

The next step is to start using the functions. Again these are very easy. They do whatever you want them to do. So for example if you want to know what score out of 10 the boys in your class got on average you could either use the "Sum" function to get the total and then divide by the number of boys you have or (if you are feeling even lazier!) use the "average" function to get the number straight off. This helps you discover all sorts of useful things like 11H has far fitter boys than 11D so time to go and hang out with 11H!

Once you are really good with using functions the final step is macros. Macros are basic (really really basic) computer programs to do the things that you are far too lazy to do yourself. So if you want to become rather ambitious with your boys scoring and expand it to have lots of different pages (tabs!) and on each one you score them on something different (clothes, personality, kissing etc) but can't be bothered to type them all out each time or even copy and paste their names then you record a macro of you copying and pasting it once, stick a loop in, make yourself a very pretty pink button and press "Go"!

Ok - I've taken my "boy scoring" analogy a bit far but seriously - go and play with Excel. It really is ever so much easier than people imagine.

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