“At the time, rightly or wrongly, I couldn’t wait to leave school at 16 and get out into the big wide world and start earning some money of my own. My first job was working as an Office Junior whilst also doing an RSA Level 1 typing course at night school, using a manual typewriter. My role as an Office Junior involved a wide range of tasks from making the tea to sending text based messages via a Telex machine! This was similar to email whereby; you could type a message and the recipient would receive it almost immediately. Sadly, the company I worked folded and myself and my colleagues were all made redundant.

“I was fortunate enough to find another job within a week and started working for The William Hill Organization as a filing clerk in a busy Property Department at their head office in Leeds. In this role, I would aspire to become part of the typing pool and saw this as a progression in my career, and it wasn’t too long until I was promoted to a secretary responsible for two Building Surveyors. The majority of my work involved audio typing up to a maximum of 50 letters plus one or two schedules per day on an Olympia electronic typewriter. The surveyors would dictate the schedules whilst on site and would then bring the paper file along with the tape to us to transcribe and this was done by playing tapes using a Phillips 500 dictation machine. I had no experience of audio equipment and this was a major learning curve for me. We didn’t have a backspace or delete key in those days; it was all Tippex and carbon paper! So, it was important to not only to be a fast typist but an accurate one too.

“My experience and qualifications have been gained since leaving school and throughout my years of working in an office for both the public and private sectors, this has enabled me to use my knowledge and experience to take the leap and set up my own Virtual Assistant business in March 2015.

“Digital dictation can dramatically improve the turnaround time for work, and most importantly allows you to work from wherever you want. As long as you have access to a computer with internet, dictation can be carried out from wherever you are and simply emailed to the transcriber or sent via Dropbox etc. With each sound recording being saved as an individual file you can quickly move between recordings with the click of a button and unlike traditional tapes, it is possible to insert information at any time within the digital recording.

“In today’s workplace audio transcribing is heavily relied upon in many professional fields including corporate, legal and medical. Also, freelance transcribers are widely desired by people needing smaller short-term transcriptions, including writers, students and academics with people such as medical professionals and journalists using mobile devices much more now than ever before, as well as the vast selection of recording devices on the market which are more commonly used by corporate companies such as solicitors and building surveyors. This is a much more efficient way of working and allows you to send the sound file by email or Dropbox.

“To become a digital transcriptionist there are many audio typing courses available and I feel that Pitman Training offer the best. Without the benefits of digital transcription software and equipment, I wouldn’t be in a position to do the work I love from home. I have three clients who are all self-employed Chartered Building Surveyors and I also regularly undertake work for my previous employers.”

Helen John is a Virtual Assistant – for more information click here