Learning at work
In preparation for starting my new role as a caseworker for Victim First, I had all the expected emails beforehand about what to expect for the first few weeks regarding training; what to bring with me; what to collect; where to go; who to speak to etc. It’s all quite exciting but can also be a little daunting…had to make sure my “to do” and checklists were updated! Due to the pandemic I had not actually personally met any of the team – interview and contact was through Skype and phone calls.
I had a 2-week break from leaving my last job, which gave me time to “shed my skin” as a police officer and prepare myself for my new venture. On my first day I was really looking forward to meeting my new colleagues and get cracking with my training. I was immediately made to feel welcome, which certainly eased my nerves. Due to COVID guidelines, only 3 people were allowed in the office at any one time, so this felt quite different as I was used to being around lots of people (albeit socially distanced of course).
I was armed with my laptop and equipment, my comprehensive daily training plan – and of course my trusty notepad – and got myself set up at my work station. There were lots of new systems to become acquainted with, but I felt very reassured that I would not have to know everything by the end of the week – which really took the pressure off thank goodness! As soon as I had logged on to Skype, I began receiving messages from my colleagues that were on shift welcoming me with smiley emojis, which made me feel so good. Any worries I had about not seeing everyone in the flesh, so to speak, were gone.
I did have several IT issues crop up over the week (we have a love/hate relationship at times..!) but these were sorted via telephone or email. I was initially concerned about working from home and how that would be for me as I had never done this. I spent time setting up a space that would feel like I was “at work” with no distractions; adequate lighting; equipment etc. I decided the dining table in the kitchen would be the best, so made sure this was all set up accordingly – with no clutter in view. Fortunately, I would be able to order a suitable chair as dining chairs not ideal for long periods. Also, someone very kindly donated a monitor to me so that I could have multi-screen usage. On my first WFH day, I spent the time I would normally have been sat in the car doing my online Yoga class – what a great way to start the day. So that I have my “work head” on, I make sure I feel the part with doing my hair and make-up and change out of my onesie!
I was fortunate enough to have training and meetings via various mediums, including Skype, Microsoft Teams, Zoom as well as in person. If you had asked me how I would prefer to have training before this time, I would have said, without hesitation, in person. However, over the course of the last week I have discovered that actually, a mix of the two is absolutely perfect and accommodates all learning types – even “old school” me! I tend to learn by doing, so with screen sharing this was also possible. I have nothing but praise for all of my colleagues – literally every single one of them has been more than happy to help, offer advice and make me feel as though I already belong and have my place in the team, for which I am so grateful. I feel really positive about the next stage and hope to be flying solo from next week – but I feel reassured knowing that my brilliant team are only a call or a click away should I need them!
Caseworker- Victim First