Sarah-Jayne Hall

Introduction to Coding, October 2017

Sarah-Jayne, 34, joined Tech Returners after she had her flexible working turned down post maternity leave. She says Tech Returners has helped to build her confidence and start to determine what she might like to do with her career next.

Before maternity leave, I was employed as a television director and vision mixer for nearly 14 years. When I wanted to return to work after having my son, who is now two, I requested flexible working. However, my request was declined and I was left to look for a new role. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next.

Ideally, I wanted to find some balance where I could do what was right for my family, but still enjoy work. Then a friend suggested Tech Returners. I had no experience of coding but I knew that it was being taught in schools, so I thought the course could help me gain knowledge that would help my son in the future.

Tech Returners was so flexible, which was brilliant. I had been worried about childcare, but the team had links to childcare options if we needed them and the hours of the course fit around my plans. It really helped to make life easier, knowing that someone had already considered the barriers for me and how to overcome them. Even going so far as providing lunches on the day!

It felt like a very welcoming environment. I’ve always been a very confident person but, having been in the same career for a long time, having my flexible working declined was a bit of a knock. I had no idea where to go next. Tech Returners showed me that I was capable of learning again and helped me get my mojo back.

I’d never touched coding before so the fact that I was able to create and build my own website from scratch, was great. I would never have imagined I’d be able to do that. The CV workshop prepared me for applying for jobs and I now feel like I’m equipped with the necessary tools to succeed. I’ve found the continued support from Tech Returners after completing the course incredibly valuable.

I feel like I’m on the right path now. I’ve done some freelancing and lecture a day a week at the University College of Football and Business, teaching the TV production module there. I’ve also been picking up some social media work and I’ve retrained as a celebrant with the Fellowship of Professional Celebrants, conducting ceremonies for all occasions, from weddings and naming days to vow renewals. I even made my business website as part of the Tech Returners course and learnt valuable social media techniques to help me along the way.

When I couldn’t go back to my old job, I didn’t believe that I could do anything else. Tech Returners has given me the skills and self-belief to explore a new career path with no judgement. For that I’ll always be grateful.