“College has changed my life completely” – mum of two excels with lifelong learning
Adult learner, Emma Sellers, is no stranger to adversity.
Working as a part-time carer to her sister who has cerebral palsy, alongside being a single parent didn’t come without its challenges. However, after leaving school many years ago without sitting her exams, she always felt like she had missed out.
Once her youngest child started high school, Emma took a leap of faith and enrolled on Access Foundation GCSE at Leeds City College.
A love for education
Emma’s Access course helped her to complete five GSCEs, before progressing onto the Business Administration Apprenticeship at Level 3.
“Joining college as an adult really opened my eyes to the value of education and the diverse opportunities that come with it. Although I was the oldest in my class at 36, my tutors and peers made sure I felt like an equal and valued member of the group.
“My love for education continued to grow whilst at college. Given the way digital technology is advancing, I decided to build my skills and therefore made the life-changing decision to apply for the apprenticeship.
“The knowledge and skills learnt through this programme helped me secure a permanent position at the college, working within the Teaching, Learning and Assessment (TLA) team as a performance officer, while studying at the same time.
“I love this role, as it allows me to support hundreds of staff and help with student-facing events. I feel honoured to be a cog in a large mechanism that helps learners to achieve.”
Promoting lifelong learning
Returning to education as an adult has helped Emma to work towards her lifelong career ambitions.
“My experience of being an adult learner was fantastic. Although mature students often have additional responsibilities, such as balancing family commitments and study, the risk is definitely worth the reward.
“I’ve learnt how to overcome my lack of professional experience, build strong relationships within the college and use restorative language. College has changed my life completely; I now have a passion, career and goals – all things I didn’t have prior to becoming a learner.
“Life as a teen was very difficult for me, and I often felt like a failure. However, I knew that education would be there when I had the confidence to start again – little did I know what a difference it would make to my life.
“Leeds City College’s involvement in the Festival of Learning is a brilliant step towards putting adult learning back on the country’s agenda. These upcoming events will help spread the word of lifelong learning to adults across the district, showing how it can offer them the chance to enhance their confidence, make friends and open exciting doors to new careers.”