Returning to college in your 30s to expand your education can be nerve-wracking.
But for Jolanta Jones and Laura Rudrum, foundation degree studies have set them on a road to their dream careers in the teaching profession.
Polish-born Jolanta, 33, now living in Telford, and Laura, 34, based in Albrighton, both enrolled on early years services, and supporting children in primary education at Telford College.
With her family moving location on a regular basis as a result of her father’s job, Laura felt she
hadn’t achieved the school qualifications she was capable of.
Now, after completing her foundation degree with a distinction, she has enrolled on a BA (hons) course in special educational needs, disability, inclusion and childhood and family studies.
She said: “Results from my first two modules are looking extremely promising. Eventually I intend to qualify to be a primary school teacher.”
Laura said she decided to enrol on the Telford College foundation degree course because the evening studies were convenient to fit around family life – having two young children.
“I was very nervous about starting, feeling like I was too old and that I wouldn’t be able to get back into the swing of studying and learning, but it was fantastic.
“Smaller class sizes”
“The small class sizes ensured that we could concentrate, the diversity of the group was amazing and everybody soon made friendships and settled in. And the dedication of Caroline, our tutor, was sensational.”
And the best thing about her time at Telford College? “Developing confidence I never believed was there, by making friends with such a fabulous group of people.
“With constant support from the teaching staff, I actually enjoyed sharing ideas with the group, even down to delivering presentations to a room of people – which two years ago would never have been possible.
“We all worry about if we are clever enough, whether we’d fit in, if we can balance work/home/study life – and the answer is you absolutely can. If you choose Telford College, they support you every step of the way.
“I want to reiterate just what a positive experience it has been because of the amazing, helpful tutors and wonderful classmates I had at Telford College. Many will remain friends for life.”
Jolanta, who has worked as a teaching assistant for the past eight years, revealed it was her husband who pushed her into enrolling on the foundation course, as he knew she regretted missing out on university studies in the past.
“When I was 19 I did my A levels in Poland, and soon after I finished I moved away to England, and I have been living here ever since.
“I made my life here, started to work in primary school setting, married, and have had two children – but somehow I felt something was missing. The hunger for my degree was always there.
“At first, it felt extremely stressful, but our group became very close and we were able to support one another. Tutors were always there when we needed them, day and night!
“I never expected to learn so much. The depth of knowledge has given me so much more confidence in doing my job, and made me a much better practitioner.”
She added: “I have always wanted to do teaching training, and this is still what I am aiming to do.
“The best thing about my time at Telford College was meeting new people. Other students and tutors became part of my life, and even when I was struggling at times they were able to lift my spirits to enable me to carry on and do my best.
“Everyone at Telford College has been so lovely, caring and most of all supportive. They all have become part of my life . . . my extended family.”
Caroline Bastow, Access and HE learner manager at Telford College, said: “Working with the students on these degree courses, and watching their transformation, is an absolute pleasure and privilege.
“Their motivation to learn is inspirational; they commit not only to the course, but to each other, and become a really strong community, making lifelong friendships.
“We work really hard to support students as individuals, so their confidence increases, and they stand taller. It is humbling to hear Laura and Jolanta speak in such glowing terms about the difference Telford College has made to their lives.”
Telford College currently has a range of foundation degree and higher level diploma courses on offer, from early years and health care to engineering, computing, and music. For details, CLICK HERE.