Adult Learners: Why did you decide to return to learn?

A grid image containing headshots of the six adult learner students featured in this blog.

Returning to education after a break can be a scary prospect but there are many reasons to take the plunge and do it, like improving your job prospects and pursuing your passion.

These are just the tip of the iceberg, so we asked some of our adult learners about their reasons for their journey back into learning. Here’s what they had to say.

Headshot of adult learner student, Julia Pennington.Julia Pennington, Biomedical Science

I was brought up on a council estate where kids didn’t even go to sixth form, let alone university. We left school with few qualifications or aspirations and became factory workers, cleaners or, if you were lucky and male, bin men. By the time I reached my twenties, I had joined the ranks of single mothers living in council flats and was dependent upon state benefits.

After really looking into my options, I realised that swapping full-time work for full-time hands-on study was not the impossibility I’d always assumed, but entirely realistic; I’d be eligible for full financial help and intended to get a part-time job to supplement my income. I first completed an Access to HE course, which was helpful in many ways, particularly with applying for university courses.

Find out more about Julia’s adult learner experience…

Headshot of University of Bradford student, Kulchuma Begum.Kulchuma Begum, Social Work

Having been employed for many years as a Teaching Assistant and then a Cover Supervisor, I started to feel like I was stuck in a rut and needed a change in career due to lack of progression. I wasn’t very academic when I was younger and only had my GCSE qualifications and very poor A-Levels, so my options were limited in the jobs that I could apply for. I had an idea of the jobs that I would like to pursue but did not have the qualifications I needed.

I was encouraged by my husband to return to studying to gain the qualifications I needed and applied to university but was rejected in the first instance due to not having enough UCAS points. Although I was disheartened, I did not lose hope as I was provided with information about how I could complete an Access course and reapply, which I did and I am now in my second year of study at the University of Bradford.

Find out more about Kulchuma’s adult learner experience…

Tobias Pritchard, Game Design and Development

I have always wanted to attend University but I thought my qualifications were not applicable. My partner persuaded me to go to an open day and find out if I would be able to get in with City and Guilds qualifications, and I was thrilled to find out that these, plus the conversations I had with the tutors were accepted to get me onto the course.

I worked in IT Support for over twenty years and really wanted to take control of my life and get out of that field. I have always loved computer gaming and the idea of studying it was a dream come true.

Find out more about Tobias’ adult learner experience…

Headshot of University of Bradford student, Jennifer Buck.Jennifer Buck, Physiotherapy

After already having an active 10-year career in a different field, I was ready for a change. During that time, I worked with a lot of physiotherapists and I’ve never met one that didn’t enjoy their job, which really appealed to me. I had to plan a few years in advance to get the place that I wanted and even spent 18 months doing an Access course part-time to be able to gain the points needed to meet the entry requirements.

I feel that if it’s something you really want to do, putting the extra time in to make sure you’re prepared definitely makes sense. When I applied for the BSc Physiotherapy course, I got my first choice and have enjoyed every moment since. It’s been challenging returning as an adult learner, but there is so much support available to make sure I’m keeping up with the younger students too!

Find out more about Jennifer’s adult learner experience…

Headshot of University of Bradford student, Wayne Ryalls.

Wayne Ryalls, Film & TV production

After running my own business successfully for the last five years, I realised it was time to follow the dream rather than the money. I still run my business, but it is not my passion; I wanted to do a career that excited me to get out of bed in the morning and the only way I could do that was to get the skills required for a career change and that meant coming to university.

Find out more about Wayne’s adult learner experience…

Headshot of University of Bradford student, Elzarie Le Roux.

Elzarie Le Roux, Clinical Technology

“Education is key” and that is my reason for returning to campus. The valuable knowledge I have gained so far is priceless and has made me even more interested to learn from my academics and grow into a professional and successful woman.

The University of Bradford has provided support systems and changed their ways of teaching to accommodate for their students to ensure they deliver a top standard education during this difficult time.

Find out more about Elzarie’s adult learner experience…

Thinking of returning to learn? Head to our Adult Learner webpage for more details.

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