Single mum Jane Robinson put her career in the hospitality industry on hold to raise her young son.
But after he reached school age, she decided to take a different career path and find a job with more suitable working hours.
She enrolled on a level three supporting teaching and learning course at Telford College, and has now been offered a job starting working as a teaching assistant at Broseley Church of England Primary School.
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It’s the perfect work/life balance for 45-year-old Jane, who lives in Broseley and has become the first Telford College student to resume her work placement after the Covid-19 lockdown
She explained: “As a single parent, I had been focusing on looking after my son, until he began school last September.
“I had previously worked in the hospitality industry for many years, and was keen to try a new career with more appropriate working hours, that would enable me to look after my son when he was not in school.
“I had also helped out as a volunteer in recent years, working with vulnerable adults and also with pre-school children, doing craft activities.
“I had enjoyed this, so thought I’d enquire about teaching assistant qualifications at Telford College. I went to an open day just to find out more information; by the end of the afternoon I’d signed up to the course!”
She added: “I have enjoyed getting to know the children at the school, and it’s been great to feel like I can help them with their learning.
“The most challenging aspect has been overcoming nerves; beginning the course, starting at my placement school, and finding myself in loads of new situations.”
But she said the Telford College course was highly recommended for anyone with an interest in getting a foothold in the teaching and learning sector.
“If you are a mature student, don’t be put off if you’ve attempted courses of study previously and dropped out – as I had.
“Priorities change as you get older, and you may find it easier to study, even with less time to fit everything in. If you are a parent, there are many life skills you may well have gained, like better time management.
“If you have been away from work for some time, a course like this one can help build your confidence and knowledge so that you feel able to embark on a new career path.
“And most importantly, don’t let fear and nerves prevent you from attempting something new.”
So where does Jane see her career now heading? “For now I’m just looking forward to beginning my role as a teaching assistant, and am keen to improve so that I can help the children as much as possible.
“But I have enjoyed the process of learning, so haven’t ruled out further study in the future.”
Telford College tutor Rachel Edwards said: “Jane has been our first work placement student allowed back into her placement school since lockdown.
“She was nervous, but all the health and safety procedures gave Jane assurances and confidence she would be safe.
“The school wanted her back quickly, as they now plan to employ her with the new term in September.
“Jane is a fantastic and extremely able student, who certainly keeps me challenged with her thought-provoking questions in class!”