For many women, returning to work after having a child can be a challenging time, especially when your chosen career is no longer suited to your new situation. Lorraine Fear, 34, from Wainscott in Surrey, was one such mum. Before having her son, Lorraine had been a retail manager, however the long hours and weekends were something she could no longer cope with and the costs of childcare and travel left her no choice but to look for something else.

But as many women know only too well, finding a job that fits around children is not easy. Lorraine felt she lacked the confidence and skills to look for a new job, and this is where the WEA came in.

Lorraine attended several courses at the SureStart Centre in Dorking all designed to get people back into work.

"The courses made me see that I was not alone," says Lorraine. "I was so stressed about trying to find a job and look after my baby and the courses gave me so many tips and a chance to meet other people in my situation. It was great. With the help of the tutor, we all learned how to write a good CV, and we discussed areas were we thought we could improve."

After attending the Next Steps Course run by WEA East Surrey tutor Angie Muscio, Lorraine opted for a complete career change and retrained as a Weight Watchers leader. Her new job not only gives her the opportunity to work close to home and hours that suit her family but it has enabled her to meet new people and make new friends. She now runs two meetings and has even achieved some publicity from the local newspaper.

"I never thought I would have the confidence to stand in front of a group of people and lead a class, but I do and I love what I do. I would definitely recommend the WEA courses - they are really relaxed and friendly. I really looked forward to going each week and finding out how everyone was getting on. Angie showed us what we could do and gave us the tools to help ourselves."

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