Interview with Natalie Peart: Hunter Learning Studio
- Please tell us a little about yourself and your company. When was it established?
Hunter Learning Studio was established in 2021, though it was an idea long before that. I took it slow at the beginning due to having a full time job as a new mum 🙂 but I am happy that I did as I now have a much better idea of how I can help people.
HLS is a fusion of 8 years working as an English Language Teacher in Sydney and abroad and 4 years working in Employment Services (Job Active) as an Employment Trainer. I witnessed how hard it was for non-native English speakers to apply for jobs and learn the skills when English was their second language, and so that is why I decided to specialise in English for job search and English for work in Australia.
Out of work, I am a mum to a very busy 18 month old and now live in Maitland with my family. We moved from Sydney about 3 years ago for a better quality of life away from the city. Oh, and I am originally from Scotland, so although English is my first language, I do know first hand how hard it can be to settle in Australia and get your first job.
- Please describe some of the services or activities of your program – who could benefit from this?
I offer one-on-one services and group classes. I have a one-on-one coaching program that is tailored specifically to the student and is based on their goals for work and employment. It combines English language learning and skills development for job search or work, in fact everything I do combines English language learning and real skills development for applying for jobs and for tacking workplace challenges.
I also offer mock interviews, live resume reviews and a job search strategy session.
I have just launched my first group class – it is the Professional English Conversation Class, and it is perfect for people who are working in Australia or who want to work in Australia. They learn vocabulary and phrases that they can use at work, we discuss workplace challenges, and there is a different career related topic each week. The best part is that they get to see that they aren’t alone and make connections with others in a similar situation. In the coming weeks there will be more group classes announced including grammar for job interviews, interview question preparation, how to sell yourself in English and a few more.
All of my services and classes aim to help people who are IN Australia or who are working towards a visa and moving here navigate Australian employment culture and English language. I mostly cater to intermediate level and above at this stage, though this will change as I grow and can offer more services.
- What do you love most about this work? – what motivates you?
I love to help people, I genuinely feel that Australia is better with a beautiful and vibrant and diverse culture, and I know how difficult it is to live here and to navigate work, and social life and meeting connections, and so I want to create a community where new-Aussies can meet people and be happy here. I am motivated by reaching their goal (no matter how big or small) and being happy.
- Are there any challenges you face?
Of course, aside from the challenge of navigating Mum life and work life (how do other mums do it?) I often get asked questions about helping to find a job and visas, which I can’t answer, and I think that is where a collaboration with other values based organizations come in, so that we can all offer the assistance we specialize in.
- How did you get involved with Work + Stay?
I was actually following the work that Work+Stay did for a while on social media, and looked at their website, as I acknowledged that what they were doing was so necessary and valuable, and then they asked if I wanted to have a chat. Naturally, I was very excited. 🙂
- What benefits do you see while collaborating with Work+Stay?
I feel like our values align, I am very values driven as a person and so therefore my outlook on business is. HLS values are community, commitment, inclusivity and collaboration, and I genuinely value collaboration as if we all work together then we can help more people feel at home in Australia. I feel like with my training in English and support for perfecting job search skills and work related challenges, we can work together to get new-Aussies into employment without any hassle or potential discrimination.
- What do you do when you are not working?
Well, I have an 18 month old so it is often spent at parks, reading the same book numerous times or running after her. 🙂 I also love the beach and nature and we try to go on family adventures (including our dog) as often as possible.
- Can you tell us something interesting about yourself?
I have traveled to almost 40 countries. I love to travel, and I am really excited to explore more of our world with Freya when she is old enough.
- Do you have a message to share?
I do. I just want you to know how strong, resilient and amazing you are! I know I don’t know you, but you have to be as you are starting a new life in another country with a new language. You are already so skilled and valuable to an Australian employer, and they would be lucky to have you. I know that it can be hard, W+S and I both both understand this, but just remember how far you’ve come (and that you are awesome). I often encourage my students and community to write a list of their achievements so that they can look back on it when they don’t feel confident. So, you can try that too.