FE Transforming Lives
I can honestly say FE has transformed my life. As I young person I went to sixth form and studied, but I had a very difficult and traumatic childhood, for a number of reasons. I did not complete my A level studies and therefore missed the opportunity to attend University. As a young woman I found myself a single parent with two small children, lacking in confidence and with no career prospects.
I plucked up the courage to ask my very dear friend to babysit for my children one day a week so I could attend a part time A level course at my local FE institution. I can remember the first day in the college I chose to attend. I was terrified, and I had to study when my children were in bed at night. After completing my A levels I was asked if I would like to participate in a new course being piloted by the FE College. At this point I had not thought about which subjects I would like to study, so I attended a foundation course with fantastic FE tutors who guided me through the HE process, and helped me to discover where my personal strengths were.
I submitted a number of assignments and found I could utilise skills I had acquired in previous roles to support my studies. After completing my first year, I went on to University, and studied for a degree. I had a very good understanding of both mathematical subjects and also systems related subjects, which stem from my personal interest in computing
If I had not plucked up the courage to take a chance and return to learning I would have missed these opportunities. My FE tutors have been, and continue to be, role models for me and helped me to acquire new skills. They gave me the confidence to tackle new things and to look for opportunities. I truly believe in the power of FE and the life changing opportunities provided there for people like me.
My negative experiences from my childhood have now become catalysts for my personal research interests, which I have now not only gained the confidence to talk about, but also have the courage to explore and try to understand from theoretical perspectives, which have helped me to heal and move forward in my life.
My own experiences have helped me to become a role model for other students who have had similar traumatic life experiences and journeys. I think that having experienced this lack of confidence, I can identify this trait in other students, and particularly in my own subject area, which is male dominated, I can support women to achieve many wonderful things.
I am now a Senior Lecturer and Course Leader for Computer Science, which is a male dominated subject, and I am challenging the stereotypes and encouraging more girls to join the subject. I have worked on a project with an esteemed electronics engineer, and created an artefact which has transformed the way in which education is delivered in Key Stage 3 in schools. Children now learn micro electronics and coding using microprocessor technology which was designed by a team of men and me. (They asked for my opinion!)
I feel I am a role model for women in computing, and all this has happened because I took a deep breath and had the courage to walk into an FE Centre as a single Mum.