Sheelagh Vause (55) from Falkirk completed her HNC Working with Communities in June 2016.
She is currently a full-time carer, but is considering roles in the voluntary sector at the moment to continue to use her newfound skills.
Sheelagh, said: “FVC is my local college and was offering the type of course I was looking for. The facilities at the College were great, and the place itself has a real community feeling. I cannot praise the lecturers enough for their patience and enthusiasm, they made returning to learning easy and enjoyable. I am really going to miss every one of them, not just for their depth of knowledge, but because they are a great bunch of people, who were there for me every step of the way.
“I have come to realise that I can still learn, despite my age and length of time out of formal education. I can study, research, report write and produce essays and I now have a knowledge of social science - a subject not taught when I was at school. I also have a good understanding of what will be required if I decide to continue to degree level, and this is because of the standards set by the lecturers.
“Fully supported throughout the year by people who genuinely wanted me to succeed, I now have the learning and contacts that will allow me to make informed choices going forward. Some of the class are moving on to university and I haven’t ruled this out for the future. But for the moment I know that I have been given the tools to pursue future projects with gusto.
“I would say to anyone thinking about this course that it is diverse and topical, but that you must be prepared to read! read! read! There is a lot of learning to be done outwith the classroom, so don’t expect to turn up two days a week and that’s it. If you are interested in community and society at large then you will really enjoy researching for yourself. The other important thing about this or any other course at the College, is that you need to quickly learn to be organised. There are lots and lots of notes to take, so if you get organised early on then the course will be a lot easier.
“The whole experience has been great. I looked forward to going to classes every week because the more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. Sharing experiences with the rest of my class, laughing, crying and always supporting each other, has meant that I now have new friends who will continue to be part of my life."