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Ex-Royal Navy Mum Gets 200 Clients for Healthcare Business in 9 Months After Qualifying Online

17th January 24

Gemma Brown, 42, went from working as a dental nurse in the Royal Navy to becoming her own boss as an in-demand Foot Health Practitioner in Worcestershire after studying online with learndirect.

The self-proclaimed “girl boss” from Droitwich Spa, who is mother to sons George (18) and Bertie (5), signed up close to 200 clients in the Worcestershire area in just 9 months after professionally registering in April 2023. 

Photo of Foot Health Practitioner Gemma

Upon leaving the Royal Navy, Gemma continued working as a dental nurse – and still works in this role part-time – but she later realised a renewed determination for success, wanting more from life for herself and her family. 

“My youngest son nearly died because he was really premature. Now that he’s a bit older I thought ‘I don’t want to do what I’m doing all the time, I want a new career, I want to be a bit more successful, I want to provide more for my children, I just want to make our lives better’.” 

Gemma wanted to remain working in healthcare and set her sights on foot health. To achieve her goal of setting up her own business in this sector, Gemma enrolled on learndirect’s Level 3 Foot Health Care Practitioner Diploma course in September 2021. Across 18 months of study, she was able to get qualified while also maintaining her commitments at work and at home. 

“There’s no way I could have gone to college or university with work and children, it just wouldn’t have happened, so being able to do it online the way it is, is just perfect for anyone older and wanting a new career, especially if you’ve got a family as well, it just makes life a bit easier.” 

Life Transformed through Flexible, Affordable Learning 

With the option of affordable, flexible online study at learndirect, Gemma was able to take a significant step towards bettering her life. 

“To learn a new trade and get a qualification like I have and do it the way I did, it just works so well when you have got a family and have another job - you don’t have to give up stuff. 

Photo of Foot Health Practitioner Gemma with her two sons

“It was all online, I could do it at my own pace, I could do as much or as little as I wanted. I was working full-time then so I was doing it in the evenings.” 
With families up and down the UK trying to cope with the rise in cost of living over the last few years, having the option to spread the cost of the course across monthly payments was favourable for Gemma. 

“I didn’t know you could pay it off monthly, so once I saw that I thought ‘that’s perfect!’ That’s really helpful for anyone who’s worried about the cost. I actually paid it off before I finished the course, which is great. I’ve made my money back massively since doing it.” 

Business is Booming! 

In just 9 months after qualifying, Gemma’s clientele grew quickly, and she now has contracts with 3 nursing homes in the Worcestershire area, as well as a home for cerebral palsy and a contract with Autism West Midlands, a charity close to Gemma’s heart as her son lives with autism. 

“I’ve built up such a good rapport with them they actually look forward to seeing me - that’s really rewarding, I love going there. [My business has grown] a lot quicker than I thought it would – it’s crazy! I never thought for one minute that I would be in the position that I am now. Starting up a new business, I thought it was going to take a couple of years to get established and to get contracts. I can’t even begin to tell you how many patients I’ve got on my books now but it’s a lot! Nearly 200! 

“When you’re a working mum, it’s hard so it’s quite intimidating and daunting learning something new but doing it through learndirect fitted my life perfectly. I would definitely recommend it to anybody. Life’s too short to live with regret, just do it. You get so much support when doing it, just do it."

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