00:00:02 I’m Irene A, my job title’s Inward Education Manager at the Scottish Parliament.
00:00:07 I manage a team of five education assistants, who provide the service to the schools in Scotland for visits coming in, so schools, primary schools, secondary schools, coming in to visit the parliament, we give them a session, a presentation, a tour, a question and answer session with their MSPs.
00:00:24 I enjoy working with people so, I, I like sort of being out in the front of house and dealing with people on a day to day basis.
00:00:34 My mother insisted I take secretarial studies at school, because there’s always an office job, there’s always secretaries wanted, I personally would, wanted to go into either midwifery or teaching funnily enough when I was younger, but my mum worked for the NHS so she wasn’t encouraging me to go into the NHS. And I think later in life I did look back and look at going in as a mature student to midwifery but by that time I had a mortgage and children and financially it just wasn’t viable.
00:01:06 I would have liked to have stayed on, I particularly enjoyed English, I’d have like to have stayed on but, I was encouraged really to leave early and get out there and work. Ha. Sort of bring in some money I think as well.
00:01:19 There wasn’t the same prospects way back then to actually go to, you know to go to college and university it was really, they’re really clever children that went on to, to university and college in my day, it wasn’t as easily accessible as it is now.
00:01:35 I left school on a Friday and started work on the Monday. Inland Revenue it’s not her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. I was there for six years until I had my first child.
00:01:45 Quite a good mix of people, quite a lot of young school leavers so it had a good social life as well as the work side of it, so no yeah I enjoyed, met my husband there so, can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. (laughs)
00:01:58 I had two children quite close together and then after that, probably for the next oh six or seven years I worked opposite shifts from my husband so I would sort of have bar work, waitressing work, factory work anything that, where the hours suited his shift pattern and we sort of shared the childcare between us.
00:02:19 I got to a stage where I felt I had to get my office skills back up if I wanted to return to, to work fulltime when the children were older I had to sort of get some everything was changing, technology was changing I was feeling I was kind of getting behind, and there weren’t the courses available for return to work that there are now, so I actually got a part time job working for the DHSS in the mornings and my children went to a childminder. But I had to go out to work at night in a supermarket to pay the cost of the childcare because there wasn’t help around in those days for, towards childcare either.
00:02:56 When I left the DHSS I actually went to work for Sky television, in their call centre in Livingston, and much as call centres get a bad reputation I did feel they gave me a lot of experience in working on the telephone, how to actually speak to people on the telephone, how to deal with difficult customers, which has been invaluable to me everywhere I’ve gone since then.
00:03:21 I think probably making a decision to go back and do some office work from having been working in bars and the restaurants and things, probably was a key decision for me because technology as I say was changing so quickly if I hadn’t done that I would have just been lost, I wouldn’t have been able to get back to work in an office and I think possibly wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t done that.
00:03:47 I wish I’d done, I’d tried harder at school and I wish I’d stayed on at school, and I, I’ve got three children who have all gone into further education and I’ve tried to encourage them as much as possible to do that, and I would encourage any young people to take their education while it’s free before you have to start paying for it when you’re older.