Aged 27, Samera Hussain took a leap and decided to go back to school and do her GCSEs. “I wanted to get my education and give myself the chance of a career, provide for the kids, and give them a good role model,” she explains.
It’s just one of the inspiring examples she recently shared in an interview with Superscript, discussing her life and career as an NHS trained phlebotomist (a person who takes blood samples) and professional DNA, drugs, and alcohol sample tester in the private sector.
Married at 17, Samera focused on growing her family from a young age. Although she had other life goals to achieve, she put them on hold. Later on, she found herself a single mother with young children. It meant she needed to find new ways to provide for herself and her children, which gave her the added motivation to return to those life goals.
“I got my GCSEs then tried doing a uni access course, but it wasn’t the right time for me, so I started a job in retail. It was okay, but I wasn’t happy and knew I could be doing more,” she recalls.
Samera signed up with a charity called Path Yorkshire, who help people from ethnic minority backgrounds into their chosen careers. Thanks to their support, Samera was able to enroll in an NHS training programme for phlebotomists.
“Needles never bothered me, and taking blood samples was a good way of helping others and making a difference,” she says. Samera spent a number of years working in NHS settings, calming nerves and playing her part to support other people’s health.
Looking to grow her career and experience, Samera took up a number of roles with private sector companies, always focused on sample taking and testing. “My jobs took me as far north as Scotland, and as far south as Portsmouth, it was a great experience. I felt happy being able to provide for the family, be an example to my kids, and do a job that gave me flexibility in terms of where I worked, whether in labs, people’s workplaces or homes,” she says.
It might sound like a small detail, but for Samera and those like her, the right insurance cover has been as important as the right qualifications and experience to get the job done.
“I’m technically self-employed, so I needed indemnity cover, because of the work I do and people I’m interacting with. It’s easy to overlook, but if I didn’t have that, I simply wouldn’t be able to do the job I’m doing now,” she explains.
A quick Google search brought her to Superscript, a business insurance provider who could meet Samera’s needs, on a flexible, month by month basis. But, that’s hardly the end of the story.
On the cusp of 40, Samera, not one to give up, had another attempt at a university access course, and passed first time. “Sometimes I have to pinch myself: I’m a mother of five and nearly 40, and I’m actually going to university in September to start a distance learning degree in biological and physiological sciences,” she beams. It’ll give her the flexibility she needs to balance family life, work life, and her studies. Mum, healthcare professional, student – no life goal seems too much for Samera to take on.