A return to education has paid off for a woman whose studies at Wrexham Glyndwr University are to lead her to her dream career in teaching.
Vicki Evans, from St Martins in North Shropshire, was working as a teaching assistant when her manager suggested that she should become a teacher herself – and, after studying for two degrees at Wrexham Glyndwr University, she is now hoping to secure a post teaching in further education.
She said: “I have got two children, one of who has some complex special needs as she has epilepsy, which meant I had spent several years ensuring she received the correct care.
“I basically needed a job, and thought working in a school would help – I had been working in the school at St Martin’s as a teaching assistant, and my line manager suggested that I could be doing more with my life and encouraged me to look at studying at university.
“He sat me down and said ‘you should be doing more – you should be teaching.’
“To do that, I needed to get the qualifications – and first of all, I needed to get a degree – so I looked at Glyndwr, which had an online course in Childhood Studies.
“Doing that course at home, while still working at St Martins as a classroom assistant, worked really well for me.”
Once she had secured her first degree, Vicki returned to Glyndwr as a postgraduate student – and, after working in a variety of placements, decided to study to teach in further education by following Glyndwr’s Professional Graduate Certificate in Education in Post-Compulsory Education and Training (also known as a PGCE/PCET.)
One of the first new experiences for her on the new course was actually coming to the university to study in person. She added: “I hadn’t actually visited the university much during my first degree – my Graduation ceremony for the Childhood Studies degree was one of the few times I’d actually been in the university itself!
“It was a long journey for me, getting a degree and then coming to do my PGCE, but it’s really been worth it.”
Students on Glyndwr’s PGCE courses have to secure teaching placements as part of their studies – and Vicki managed to secure a long-term placement at North Shropshire College in Oswestry. She is now hoping to develop on the placement – and looking to secure a full-time role in further education.
Despite being concerned about returning to education in her forties, she has found the experience of studying at Glyndwr inspiring – and is keen to encourage others to see what studying could do for their career.
She added: “The first time I was at college, life took over a little bit – but getting that job in education, then starting my studies at Glyndwr, gave me the confidence to go out and do everything I’m doing now – I just feel like I want to prove something to the world.
“It’s been ace – I feel quite empowered as a result and it just goes to show people thinking about a new start that you can achieve things like this!
“The tutors have been brilliant and very supportive –both when I was studying online and now I’m coming here to Glyndwr physically. I’m quite enjoying being a proper student and hopefully I’ll be getting a dream job at the end of my studies too.”
Jo Williams, the Programme Leader for the PGCE/ PCET course, said: “Vicki was been an absolute delight to work with and I know she has a bright future ahead of her in education.
“Watching the development of students like Vicki – and seeing them build their new careers – is one of the highlights at working here at Glyndwr. Our students have gone on to thrive in all sorts of roles – and it’s always great to see!”
Find out more about Glyndwr’s PGCE (PCET) course here: https://www.glyndwr.ac.uk/en/Postgraduatecourses/ProfessionalGraduateCertificateinEducation/
If you are interested in finding out more about the course, staff from the Education Department will be available in The Study at the Plas Coch campus of the university every Wednesday between 4pm and 6pm to discuss it – and other education courses the university offers.