Tracy Harris, Service Deliver Manager, West Midlands Employers shares her story of how she started out in a temporary role and secured a permanent position.
Having worked in Local Authorities for around 25 years, Tracy decided that she wanted a change, and took a job as a Charity Manager. Two weeks after starting the position, the pandemic hit so the role that she was meant to go into evolved into something else. She worked managing a team of staff who supported nurses and care assistants for an end-of-life charity that effectively became a call centre for families and people experiencing end of life challenges.
She then moved into a regional role, which quickly turned into a UK-wide role, for a disability charity providing support in the community and residential and care homes. However, nine months in and the organisation announced that they were in serious financial hardship post pandemic.
Tracy described how she felt as though she was going into a slight panic because she saw this as being and organisation she would like to work with until retirement – she was in a really exciting role, managing staff that supported 4,000 volunteers to enable client independence, and worked with a great team.
So, she felt quite unsure about where she’d like her next job to be having built years of experience working across local authorities and charities. One thing she was certain of is that she wanted to take on a new challenge personally and work more locally.
Temporary work – a daunting prospect turned into a real positive
Unsure of what direction to go in, her colleague suggested she do some temporary work. Her colleague said, “If you have got all of these skills and experience but don't know exactly what you want to do, and you've become disillusioned, why don't you go and do some temporary work.”
Tracy said she found it a scary prospect at her age and having had a bit more experience but she decided to give the temping a go. She was familiar with Opus People Solutions, who deliver WM Temps, because she had used them as a service provider when working in local authorities previously so she approached them for more information.
The team at Opus reached out to her immediately with a role at West Midlands Employers (six month contract) MoU lead Officer. The individual at Opus said, “We think you have got serious transferable skills.”
Tracy described feeling it would be a massive change but a fantastic challenge and she hasn't looked back since. She said, “I thought I’d give the temping work a go and I guess I thought it would be ten days in one post and then ten days in another. But the experience has been very different – I feel like I have made a new home with WME, and I felt part of the team almost straight away.
“I have had quite a steep learning curve when it comes to suppliers and the market but it's what my brain needed. I needed a different challenge, I needed a different route.”
It’s clear Opus care
When asked about her onboarding experience Tracy said:“My onboarding experience with Opus was so impressive. The team were quick to turn things around, the communication and the personal investment in me as a candidate was incredible. They care.”
In fact, she shared the fact she was expecting a call from her soon to be employer but due to unforeseen circumstances they didn’t phone when they had arranged to. She was left feeling disappointed and concerned, however Opus contacted her to check they had spoken – this maintained her interest in the role and reassured her she is valued. The call came soon after that which proved the professionalism.
She said, “The Opus team held my hand every step of the way, until I was actually in post in a way that wasn't disempowering, but instead making sure that everything I’d been promised was followed through. It was a really positive experience. Still now, they regularly check in with me to see how the role is going.”
So, whilst temporary work is what it says it is there are real benefits in terms of experiencing new roles, getting experience working with different teams and organisations to work out what you enjoy. It can also be a great way to help secure a permanent position.