It was a dream come true when I landed my target job as the groundskeeper at my children’s school.

I’d chatted to the groundskeeper regularly when I was picking up the kids from school, and I knew he was planning on retiring. He ended up retiring earlier than expected after an injury, and when the vacancy was announced at school assembly, I just went for it!

I had attended the CareerSmart Mums workshops, along with Donna’s goal setting sessions and it really helped me to focus on what I wanted to achieve. I’ve had a great year, and really established my independence.

One of the things that stuck with me from the workshops was that women often don’t believe they can apply for a job because they don’t have experience doing 100% of the role, whereas men tend to apply and just learn on the job. The workshop gave me the confidence I needed to apply for the position. Even though there were parts of the job I wasn’t skilled in, I knew that I would be able to work it out.

The existing groundskeeper had worked a split shift before and after school, which obviously wouldn’t suit my family commitments as I have three young children. Using some of the techniques I learned at CareerSmart Mums, I was able to successfully negotiate to alter the hours worked, and now I work while the kids are at school.

The job involves all the maintenance around the school as well as the upkeep of the gardens and grounds. There were some elements of the maintenance that I hadn’t done before, but by asking others for help and advice, as well using the amazing instructional video resources on the internet, I’ve been able to do a good job. I started out doing the essential things first, and then began to refurbish some of the garden beds. With a background as a florist, I enjoy working with plants, and establishing some of these gardens allowed me to express my creativity.

I’ve been able to involve the school community in the gardens too, using cuttings that people have brought from home. When I refurbished one of the gardens that had become a bit overgrown I uncovered a beautiful mural that had been painted by the children. I pick the flowers and put them in the office and even in the ladies loos – everybody loves it!

Bringing my creative flair to the job has been an added bonus, and I’m really proud of the beautiful gardens around the school.

I think it’s incredibly powerful for both my own children, and all the other kids at the school, to see a woman doing a job that is traditionally held by a man. I take great pride in the work I do here, and my kids also benefit enormously from my newfound confidence.

You can be entertained by Dubhe’s shenanigans on instagram: @groundsofOLA.