Since leaving secondary school in 2003, I have been an eternal student – the family joke is that I could have been a doctor by now with all the years I’ve spent in college. I have always enjoyed being in education and learning new things, but like many people, I have never been quite certain what direction I wanted my future career to take. Having changed my mind in the middle of one university degree course, I decided to undertake an Arts degree in English and History. This was a great experience, since reading is my favourite pastime and this was the perfect excuse to spend three years doing nothing else. Although enjoyable and fulfilling, this course was not exactly a career path, especially since I finished it in 2010, when the recession was starting to bite hard. I decided to stay in further education and to do a postgraduate course in Information and Library Studies. This course provided me with useful skills and knowledge, but unfortunately the large numbers of students who completed the course had the effect of flooding an already sparse job market.
At this point, I decided that, although my previous university courses had taught me a lot, I was still lacking a definite and marketable skill-set. I began looking around online for a job type that would combine some of the abilities I had gained from both my previous courses and from the part-time work I had been doing over a number of years as a Home Help worker. I came across the medical secretary field and realised that this would utilise many of my existing skills – communication, dealing with people and organising information. I also realised that it would be necessary for me to gain a recognised qualification in order to obtain a job in this field.
I searched online for medical secretary courses, and Pitman Training was consistently the top result and the most recommended course. The fact that the training could be completed in a flexible manner was a great attraction, as it meant that I could continue to work my part-time hours as normal and simply arrange the training around it. The meeting that I had with Maria Lalor at Pitman Training Swords, in November 2011 was the deciding factor. She was extremely helpful and understanding, and we discussed in detail my previous academic history in order to decide which course would suit me best. Stasia and Paul, the staff at Pitman Training Swords were unfailingly supportive during my time studying there, from arranging the most convenient training times to solving computer problems. Maria also provided me with invaluable advice and support when I was called for my first formal interview.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and I have learned a great deal, from dictation and presentation skills to greatly improving my typing ability. The result of gaining all these skills and learning to utilise them efficiently has led to my success in obtaining a full time job as a Medical Secretary for a private consultant surgeon. I would wholeheartedly recommend this course and the Pitman Training experience to anyone who is looking for a new direction in life or to improve the skills they already have. It has been a very rewarding six months, and I believe the skills I have learned here will continue to be of great use in my new career, and I am very grateful to the Pitman staff for assisting me.