Charlene Bissett (30) from Falkirk was surprised to win the Access and Progression Prize at Forth Valley College’s 2017 graduation, but lecturers were not.
Access and Progression lecturers say HNC Working with Communities graduate Charlene was consistently, the best student in the department throughout the year. A diligent and modest student, Charlene has already used her new skills, knowledge and confidence to challenge and change practice guidelines in the workplace.
She, said: “I feel surprised and overwhelmed to win such an award. It’s good all my hard work and dedication has not only paid off, but also been recognised. It is a shock to be selected as I feel there were class members who worked and achieved just as much. Nonetheless it is a proud moment and I am happy to have won the award.
“I was confused at first as to what it was I had won before having it explained. It took a few minutes to sink in with me just feeling shocked, I still am in shock.
“I work with Loretto Care as a health and well-being assistant supporting youths and adults, facing homelessness, to develop independent living skills to maintain their own tenancies and have an active role in society. I enjoy being able to assist people facing barriers and disadvantage enhance their own life’s and live happily.
“FVC has always been my local college offering the ideal course to my career aims, NC Working with communities. After working as a domestic at Forth valley Royal Hospital for Five years with no prospects, the birth of my son gave me a new drive to succeed and achieve in life, something the college has assisted me in realising I am capable of doing.
“After completing the NC course, with the positive feedback from lecturers, I felt inspired to apply for the HNC. I never thought I would have completed this and be on my way to university, the first in my family, studying year two of a degree.
“The college facilities were off a good standard with all staff welcoming and friendly throughout the college. The lecturers during the course were excellent and supportive assisting you when required every step of the way. Varied teaching styles and methods prevented lessons becoming boring and monotonous with activities helping to embed the teaching and provide more fun and interesting lessons. Further to this, opportunities to participate in learning outwith the college were provided forming a vital part of the learning experience. I feel the lecturers’ enthusiasm and guidance not only assisted with the learning, but helped to boost confidence and raise awareness of your own abilities.
“Studying at college has empowered me to continue learning and achieving to reach my potential. It has taught me to have more self-belief in my capabilities, building my confidence to succeed and make my dreams a reality. I have also made great friends with many people who I will continue to keep in touch with. Successfully completing college has been one of my greatest achievements in life that I am proud of for not only me, but for my son as his role model in life.
“Completing the Working with Communities’ has provided a solid grounding of knowledge and experience to assist me in the next step of my journey of going to the University of West of Scotland studying Community Education. The HNC course has gave me confidence in my knowledge to gain entry to year two of the degree. My writing has improved just as my computer skills have for completing assessments and reports. This has developed my organisational skills by working to deadlines for assessments and prioritising workload for a healthy balance.
“I feel the Working with Communities course is an exceptional course that can branch off to a variety of career paths. Community learning and development is an industry that I feel will always be around due to the inequalities in society, however, working as a CLD professional with my new skills and knowledge will assist me to play a part in helping people move on from this.
“The most important aspect of the course would be further studying outwith the classroom. As there is such a breadth of knowledge and legislation supporting CLD practice, my only advice would be to do some independent research to form my own knowledge and back up what is being taught in class. The CLD standards council is also great learning resource and hosts many events to attend giving further insight into CLD.
“I loved every minute of my college experience meeting new people and learning along the way. The lecturers definitely helped make it a worthwhile and positive experience. I particularly enjoyed the workplace practice unit of the course as this allowed me to put the theory learned in college into practice helping grasp what has been taught. This also provided further learning opportunities to assist in my progression to university.”
Anyone looking to find out more about Access and Progression courses should call Forth Valley College on 01324 403000.