When I was younger, I always enjoyed school, but when I left with low grades, I ended up working in low paid jobs.
At the age of 24, my life started to change. I was offered an opportunity to work as a ‘Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Support’ at the Secondary school that I attended. I really wanted the role, although there were specific skills that I needed to develop – I received support from the school, and I started a qualification in Teaching Assistant Level 3 qualification.
When I turned 32, I leaped at the opportunity to retake my GCSEs in English, Science and Maths at an adult learning class with my local primary school. When I completed these qualifications, I discovered that the primary school were working closely with the University of Wales to deliver a degree in Inclusive Studies in Education, which really interested me, so I thought I would give it a go. And I am so glad I did, as I strived with academia in more levels than just one.
I am now the Head of a special needs class at the school I joined when I was 24. In additional to this, I have just completed a Masters in Wellbeing and Professional Development.
Learning has had such a profound impact on my life, it has not only helped me to shape my career and build my confidence, but it has also improved my wellbeing and broadened my interests and I never want to stop. Since my master’s degree, I signed up to a Level 3 Sports massage course at my local college.
I believe that my role as an ambassador has had a positive impact on my community and the workplace. Since taking up my very first degree, many of my friends and colleagues have started the same degree.
My advice to anybody would be, if you are given the opportunity to gain experience, skills, and confidence, go for it! You may be surprised at what you can achieve. Discover a range of courses that are on offer, it does not have to be a formal degree, you can attend a beginner’s class, a taster session, or a short course and you will be supported by amazing tutors. It is never too late to learn, and I am living proof of this.
Rose Probert, Inspire! Adult Learning Award winner 2016 and adult learning ambassador