Having spent 20 years as a teacher before re-training in Complementary Therapies at City College, Katie Stanton has wasted no time utilising the skills she gained on her Level 3 qualification. Katie only completed her course during summer 2016 and is already successfully running her own holistic therapies business, ReTreat, from a specially-constructed treatment room in her back garden in Hove.
‘I left teaching not knowing if a career in complementary therapies was for me but within weeks of being at the College I knew I was doing the right thing,’ says Katie. ‘I thoroughly enjoyed my training and learnt a lot during my one-year course. I had amazing tutors and the support and guidance I was given was exceptional. My client case studies were always interesting and I found that many of them benefited physically, mentally and emotionally from their treatments. That really inspired me to continue after my training because I wanted other people to benefit from the different complementary therapies that I could offer.’
Now that Katie is working for herself, she appreciates the flexibility of being able to work from home and organising her own working hours and also enjoys meeting and helping such a wide range of people: ‘I work with different clients with a variety of conditions which has included clients with chronic conditions and also the elderly. Seeing people’s conditions improve has been really rewarding. I take great pleasure in helping clients to feel better and have seen complementary therapies dramatically improve so many people’s health and wellbeing.’
Katie was successful in gaining funding from the New Enterprise Allowance scheme which has helped set her business up financially, but with a high number of complementary therapists in the Brighton and Hove area, she is faced with the challenge of making her business stand out from the crowd. Aside from different marketing techniques including special offers, promotions and social media to keep ReTreat at the forefront of people’s minds, she feels the best way to grow her business is by offering an excellent service: ‘I set out to be the best I can be and make sure all my clients have a personalised treatment, hopefully resulting them in wanting to come back again.’
Alongside running her own business, Katie’s stress-busting complementary therapy skills are appreciated by teaching staff during weekly sessions at a local secondary school and she’s also been working at The Frances Taylor Foundation, a care home for the elderly and people with learning difficulties where she finds much satisfaction in seeing very vulnerable people benefit from massage and reflexology. In addition, she also regularly works as a supply teacher at a local primary school. Despite such a hectic schedule, she has no regrets about her career change: ‘I’ve never looked back and wouldn’t change my decision. I love being a self-employed complementary therapist and take a lot of pride in starting up and running a successful business at the age of 43! My work/life balance has improved and I’m certainly in a better place and feel that I’m a better person who has more time for family and friends.’
Looking back at her life-changing year at City College, Katie says: ‘I made some friends for life while I was at the College. I also loved learning new things and as a mature student I found it easier than when I was at school! There were some very challenging times during the year and at times, I couldn’t see the wood from the trees but with the help of my tutors and fellow students – not to mention a lot of laughter – I got through it.’
As an exemplar of the benefits of ‘lifelong learning,’ Katie’s advice to others considering re-training for a new career is heartfelt: ‘It may seem a cliché but don’t let anything, or anyone, stand in your way. Go out of your way to make opportunities happen. Don’t give up when things get hard and if you want it, you will achieve it.’
For more information on Complimentary Therapies courses at City College, contact course information on 01273 667759, email firstname.lastname@example.org or see www.ccb.ac.uk