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International Women’s Day Spotlight: Leanne McGowan

What is your role at Antser? 

Training and Development Manager at Antser Learning (formally known as Reconstruct).

What do you like most about your role?

I like that my job is really varied along with being customer facing.

I feel a sense of pride selling the training and knowing that our training is having a positive impact on other people.

How did you get into your chosen career and why did you choose it?

I got into this chosen career through an apprenticeship programme 20 years ago. I then stayed with the same Fostering Company for 14 years, progressing through varies roles.

From a young age I use to love going to work with my mum using typewriters and typing, and I always knew I wanted to work in an office.

From the beginning of my career until now (20 years) my role has always been supporting making change to children, young people and vulnerable adults, and this is something I am very passionate about.

What achievement are you most proud of?

Throughout my career I have a number of achievements that I have felt proud of, one of those is being in same line of work from being an apprentice until now.

The one that is most recent, and will definitely go down in history, is when the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020. Following this, I managed to convert face to face training to online training. Overnight we had no training planned, and within a month we were back up and running, delivering courses virtually. Against all odds, by the end of 2020 we managed to deliver over 170 courses.

What has been the biggest challenge in your career?

I have faced a number of challenges in my career, but I think the most challenging has to be the last year since lock down, even though it formed part of my biggest achievement.

Being a full time working mum, with 2 children who needed help home schooling, was challenging in itself. On top of this I knew that I had training being cancelled and I needed to get it re-booked – but before I could do that I needed to work out how we were going to deliver it. (Who would have thought a year ago Zoom was un heard of!)

I embraced the challenge and, with the support of the team, within a month we were delivering online training – and my children had embraced the home schooling.  (Ok not fully embraced it!)

What advice would you give to women looking to enter a career in your industry? 

My advice would be believe in yourself!
I will be honest, I didn’t really enjoy school and studying, but I always knew that I wanted to work. Apprenticeships was certainly the best route I could have taken. I do not have a long list of qualifications, no university degree, but what I have shown is that if you believe in yourself and have a passion for your work, show commitment and drive, you can take your chosen career path. 

Never think the impossible cannot be done!

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #ChooseToChallenge.  How do you think we can take steps to challenge inequality, call out bias, question stereotypes and help forge an inclusive world?

Fortunately, I have not experienced inequality within my line of work, and believe this is a representative of the commitment the organisation has with continued and timely discussions, and training to recognise individual differences and value the diverse culture we live in.

As a mother, I believe one of the key influences we can have is to teach our children not only that they can choose to challenge inequality, bias and stereotypes, but also that they themselves have the freedom to be who they desire, and to provide an open, honest, inclusive and supportive environment for them to grow in.

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