What's it like to work with us?
Page & Bloom was founded to provide fair employment opportunities to women who have experienced domestic abuse. As part of a workplace programme, women have the opportunity to participate in our 6 week training programme, where they can develop the experience, skills and confidence to move into paid employment and onwards into a fulfilling career.
As our Spring Training Programme comes to an end, we asked two of our trainees to reflect on their experiences being a part of the Page & Bloom team.
I started here for a four week course, and then I finished that, and then the six week internship. I've learnt so much: I've learnt how to make beautiful flowers out of paper, I've learnt about myself, I've got some self esteem, patience. You know, before I used to speak before I think, now I think before I speak.
People here are so lovely. They helped me very much because I've got learning disabilities, they've helped me and they've been very patient, and I've loved being here. Today's my last day, but I've really enjoyed being at Page & Bloom. Like I said, I've learned so much about making flowers and a lot about myself, cause I had no self-confidence, like I said before, and I've learned so much about myself. I've just loved working with them.
'I've learnt about myself. I've got some self esteem, patience.'
You've got to have eye to detail, and I never thought I would have that. Because I used to be on drugs and I'm clean now, and being here has helped me. I'm only six months in my cleanness, but I've enjoyed being really good about things and it's helped me in my recovery. It's been wicked working here. Thank you so much!
How did you find out about the training programme?
Through a housing support service for women who’ve experienced domestic abuse. I attended an International Women's Day session morning tea and Rosie (Page & Bloom's founder) was promoting the training programme and I thought, 'Well it would be a great thing for me to do in terms of my CV, and I was really interested in the flowers!' I thought they were beautiful and wanted to learn how to make them.
Have you learnt any new skills as part of the training programme?
I have! It’s the first time in a very long time that I’ve learnt to use my fingers and hands and the skill of being nimble and it’s made me realise my co-ordination isn’t so great! You forget how to make things when you’re always typing or on a phone so learning how to make things, be creative and learning crafts has been really helpful.
A peony made by one of our trainees!
What have you found most useful?
I've been going through a difficult time in my life and being at Page & Bloom has been a sort of an anchor for me in terms of self-identity. To be physically part of a team and doing things together has brought me a lot of hope and confidence and helped me to re-focus on myself and actually the attention to detail and focus has made me think I’d like to take this up as a hobby and it has made me want to build up my strength in my hands. It’s unusual learning but it’s made me realise that:
A I never learnt this
and B I don’t do it enough!
I am from a writing background and so crafting was out of my skillset, so it’s been completely new to me physically and it’s been really useful to learn that.
'To be physically part of a team and doing things together has brought me a lot of hope and confidence'
What has been your favourite part of the training programme?
Being around others part of a team. The comradery, working together to put out orders and knowing that you’re contributing and it makes a difference.
What is your favourite paper flower?
Peony! And the sunflowers come in a close second!
What would you say to another woman thinking of joining the training programme?
Do it! Do it to self reflect, you do learn new skills and it’s a space where you can be yourself and learn and grow and just reclaim yourself.
Applying for jobs can be such a lonely process - it’s quite rare to have the opportunity to go through your CV and covering letter, take the opportunity on the training programme, it’s really helpful and even if you think you’ve got it you will find it so useful, it’s better than a careers adviser, because this is real life.
How would you describe your overall experience at Page & Bloom?
Absolutely wonderful, inspiring because it’s helped me. It coincided with a really difficult time for me, but everyone’s so lovely and so patient and it’s given me a chance to look ahead to focus on other things because it’s a positive experience; being part of the team and making flowers. It’s been a window of positivity for me through very dark and challenging times and has given me a sense of normality.
So far this year, 7 women have participated on our training programme. After completing the programme, 6 women moved onto further employment.
Over the past two years, 79% of trainees who completed the training programme have moved onto further employment or education.
86% of trainees this year have moved onto further employment.
We hope that our training programme can support more women this year and for many years to come, make sure to follow our Facebook, Twitter , Instagram and LinkedIn to get regular updates on our training programme and paper flowers!
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When you buy our flowers, you are helping us to support women with lived experience of domestic abuse as they rebuild their lives. You can see our full range of flowers via the button below.
* Please note, names were changed in this article to protect identities.