St Loye's Foundation, Beaufort House, 51 New North Road, Exeter / T 01392 255428 / E |   Accessibility:

Rachel’s Story

Rachel Purnell pic Lloyds pharmacy pic web size

39 year old Rachel had been on a career break to raise her young family; ultimately as a lone parent.  She had previously worked as an Insurance Advisor for 15 years. Rachel had been looking to get back into work when her Job Centre Advisor told her about the four week Launchpad course and referred her to St Loye’s to deliver the training.

Rachel said: “The whole thing was fantastic. After taking in all that had been said to me, I actually got the first job I applied for.  I was determined to be on the ‘Yes’ pile rather than the ‘No’ or ‘Maybe’ pile (something my Tutor impressed upon me to the degree that it was a real driver for me to succeed) and in week four of the course I became the first person to get an offer of work before finishing the course, thanks I have to say, to the motivational support I received from the team at St Loye’s.

“A real highlight of the experience for me was meeting with people who felt like me and were in the same situation as an unemployed single parent.

“Whilst on the course I woke up every morning knowing I was getting up for a life changing time in my life.  It was a great experience and my Tutor helped me find the person I used to be. She gave me confidence and the positive attitude and motivation when delivering the training was fantastic.

“I had also been more than a little worried about not being IT minded.  Being sat at a computer, shown how to use it, encouraged to look at and use job websites, knowing there was always support from a motivational team of Tutors/Advisors was good for me.  I now use the internet and computer in my job on a regular basis.”

When Rachel thought about going back to work, her thoughts turned back to insurance, the only career she’s known, but having been encouraged to look at all opportunities, her St Loye’s group went into Exeter City centre to ‘knock doors’.

“I picked up an application form for Lloyds Pharmacy.  I received help in completing the form, submitted it and, despite lots of motivational support, was genuinely surprised when I was invited for my first interview.  I felt nervous and unsure so after more handholding and tutoring on interview techniques and questions, I attended the interview with more positivity than I thought I had at this stage!  What an outcome – I got the job!

“I started with Lloyds Pharmacy as a Sales Assistant but within three months had moved on to Healthcare Assistant and for the last five months have been covering maternity leave of my Supervisor so am now Acting Supervisor/Dispensing Assistant.

“I was again nervous about taking the Supervisor role but remembered what had been said to me whilst at St Loye’s – “grab the experience, give it ago and who knows!”

“I have now learnt so much about running pharmacy.  I have been supervising staff, dealing with holiday and sickness records and procedures, training staff in day to day duties and also on how to provide blood pressure and diabetes service offered by Lloyds.  On policies and procedures I have had to deal with Health and Safety Audits – preparing and submitting reports.  On the money side of things banking and cashing up has been added to my skills set and I am benefiting hugely by studying on my Dispensing NVQ Level 2 course.

“In addition to all of this, I have covered for staffing shortages at our Teignmouth and Tiverton Hospital Chemists.

“I am very proud of what I have achieved particularly as with Dyslexia, I have had to learn Latin names of drugs and medicines and this has been, and remains, challenging. It’s now nearly two years since I joined Lloyds and my weekly hours have now increased to 24. My Tutor was a lovely lady who made everyone feel welcome and the way she trained you to believe you will create the perfect CV and that if you keep at it you WILL get a job made me believe in myself again. I am very grateful to her and the rest of the team and although I haven’t needed post-training support, I’m really pleased to know that there is an ongoing interest in how I am doing – I will always be grateful.”



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