Retraining stories: from residential care to a first aid franchise

Naomi Cooper spoke to workingmums.co.uk about retraining to run a mini first aid franchise.

 

After having children everything changes. It’s a time of major turbulence. Parents change their working hours, their jobs and sometimes their professions. Workingmums.co.uk’s annual survey shows many mums retrain after having children. Our latest survey shows that 67% of women were interested in retraining and 20% had retrained in the last 12 months.

One mum who did so is Naomi Cooper. She was working as deputy manager of a home for children with autism when her daughter Esme was born in March 2016. She returned to work nearly a year later, working part time and in a more administrative role.

Soon after, however, she became a single parent and soon realised that working part time was not going to work. She looked at several franchises, but they weren’t for her.

A cousin had been a franchisee with Mini First Aid, which has around 50 franchisees nationwide and offers quality baby and child first aid classes to parents and carers. Naomi had also been a first aid responder in the past. “It seemed like a brilliant idea to me. It is a franchise, but it doesn’t feel like a franchise business,” she says. “It feels more like my business, like it is a proper long-term business.”

Time over money

By April 2017 she had decided that she wanted to sign up as a franchisee and needed to take some courses to retrain. She is still doing some teaching courses.

She signed her franchisee contract in July and launched her business in September 2017. While she had to invest some money initially, she says it is worth it to get valuable time with her daughter. “I’d rather earn less and have time with her,” she says.

She continued to do her part-time job alongside building her business for 18 months because she needed a regular income. It is only in the last few weeks that she has resigned from her part-time job. “This is it now,” she says. “I was not intending to push things until my daughter was in school, but it has been so successful that I have had to take on a freelance trainer which has enabled me to put extra time into building the business.”

Based in Norfolk, but covering the Suffolk area, she can pick and choose where she holds her first aid sessions and can do administrative work, such as marketing, from home.

Naomi says she works more hours than she did in the past, but she has more control over her hours and adds that the set-up works for her family.  “I didn’t want to miss my daughter in her school play and all the other events. That was my incentive. When I was with my husband I thought I would work part time, but I knew when I became a single mum I would have to work more. I didn’t want a 9-5 job which would mean I would miss out on my daughter.”

She says she does not know what she would have done if it had not been for the franchise. “It was tough initially, but I am reaping the rewards now,” she says.

She adds: “For me it is perfect.”



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