I'm making a completely new start.
I have to admit, it's not something I expected to be doing when hurtling towards my mid thirties but nevertheless here I am. I going to become a nail technician. This has proved to be much more difficult than I originally thought, largely due to other people not doing what they said they would, not responding to phone calls or email queries and what I genuinely believe to be complete incompetence - something which does not inspire confidence in a place of further education.
I have sent off many emails through training salons' own website "contact us" buttons and have been ignored completely.
I have sent off online application forms as requested and not had any response.
I applied for an apprenticeship through BTFC. I filled in their application form, including all my details and previous qualifications and sent if off. They sent me an invitation to an apprenticeship selection day at the college. I phoned them to confirm I'd be attending. I went on the day ready to jump through whatever hoops I needed to. I took their literacy and numeracy tests, met with learning support, waited around (a lot - not good planning on behalf of the college when largely your group is made up of teenagers who would rather be out in the sunshine anyway), sat through the talk about CV's, interview questions and supported the other members of the group in thinking of answers to their questions and sat through a talk by two lovely managers from a local water park who had come to tell us about what they were looking for at interview (this had been organised for us despite the fact that nobody in the group wanted to go into the leisure industry). They were lovely though and did their very best to be supportive, give application and interview tips and answer questions (some of which were really daft). The last part of the day was to be interviewed by the person responsible for apprenticeships in our own area. I was the last one to be interviewed (after much more sitting around and probably because I was the only one not complaining). This was the fifth person from the college with whom I'd come into contact and who had seen my application form. She took one look at it and said "Do you have a degree?" "Yes," I replied. "Then I'm really sorry, but you are not eligible for an apprenticeship." Disheartened, upset, angry do not even begin to describe how I felt. When I asked how I should proceed she said the only way I could do it was to come and do the full time health and beauty course starting in September. Not something I'd wanted to do and definitely not now I know that 4 out of 5 people who work at the college can't/don't bother to read their own forms.
By this point I had been unsuccessfully hunting down a nail technician qualification for 3 months. I had had more than enough and was ready to surrender and just find a job. I decided to have one last try and went back online, searching for a course or a salon offering training. I found a beauty academy offering pretty much exactly what I wanted but I didn't get too excited, this had happened before and come to absolutely nothing. I decided to test the system. Their "contact us" page claimed they would respond to my query within 48 hours. I wasn't holding my breath, but I typed in my details and pressed send. Within 24 hours they had phoned my back and in less than a 10 minute conversation I had booked all the day courses I needed and registered myself for a distance learning NVQ.
After all that faffing with the college and all of the false starts I couldn't believe it was that simple and that quick. A little faith has been restored.
So fingers crossed. I start next month. Wish me luck.