0:02 OK my name is Laura F and I work for East Belfast Mission and I’m the relief shop manager.
00:08 Basically it starts off by me having to go round and cover the shop for all the other shop managers, whether they not be there or whether they be away on holiday or just going away for any period of time. A lot of people don’t think that charity shops are run the same as other shops, but they really do and, you know, the same things have to be done in them.
00:29 I like the variety of it. The only experience that I really had before was that I was a shop assistant in one of the retail shops in a shopping centre.
00:39 I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do so I stayed on at school to do my A levels. I applied for university. I didn’t know what it was I wanted to do and then after that when I got my A levels I just decided that none of the courses that I got into were really what was for me, so felt that at that stage then to take a year out and re-apply to do other things so during my year out I basically worked full-time and just, just in a shop, getting the experience that I have now. Then within that I got accepted to do podiatry in England. Also at that time I was still toying with the idea of going to bible college but I thought the podiatry would have been a better career aspiration to go after, have a solid career behind it. Then within that year I went away with my church to Kenya to do relief work over there, they did humanitarian work working in orphanages. I was away with them for a month and I suppose it was really at that stage that I decided that I really did want to go to Bible College and do the work there.
02:09 My dad is an aeronautical engineer, my mum is a civil servant, so basically what I was wanting to do came completely out of the blue. It wasn’t anything that anyone in my family had done previously or even knew about, you know, as a career option or a career path and whenever I said I wanted to do it, it was a bit of a what? So you know, I’ve been very lucky that my parents have always supported me in everything that I chose to do, whether it was taking the year out or doing podiatry or going to Bible College, as it turned out to be. The only thing they worried about was me actually getting a job at the end of it but everything has worked out, you know in the way that it has, so I’ve been very lucky that way.
03:02 I would have said that most of my pressure probably came in school. Whenever you go on to do your A levels it’s kind of expected that you go to university and you take on a career path that, you know is, is going to get you a well-paid job out of it.
03:18 I always thought that going to bible college, you know, would lead me on to something that I knew exactly what I wanted to do but even after that, after working there, after being there for three years, I still kind of didn’t know what it was I wanted to do and it was at the start of my second semester in final year that I seen this job opportunity and I applied for that at the time, just thinking it would give me some interview experience and I got the job, so I was doing that part-time while I was still at college.