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Adult Learners Supplement M A Y

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Studying is one of the best investments you make in your future. By continuing to learn, you open up a wealth of opportunities for your career or simply, for pleasure. DO YOU ANSWER YES TO ANY OF THESE QUESTIONS Is the risk of redundancy looming? Do you want to gain essential skills to return to work?

The North Highland College offers a range of courses designed to suit your life, interests and career ambitions no matter what your age, background or experience. Our main campus is in Thurso and other centres are in Alness and Dornoch. With such a breadth and depth there really is nothing to stop you realising your potential.

Let learning unlock your true potential

Do you need a change of direction? The North Highland College can offer plenty of opportunities to help you take that next step to the lifestyle you want.

Find out how some of our adult learners opened up a wealth of opportunities through learning

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Debbie Bain HND Administration & Information Management Debbie started her working life as a receptionist in hotels and worked her way up quickly to Front of House Manager and Duty Manager in a hotel in Aberdeen.

“Age is no barrier to studying and improving yourself.” “It is never too late to change your life and studying definitely makes you feel more confident about yourself and your capabilities.”

Debbie Bain



moved away to Inverness with her partner and got a job as an administrator in a business centre and enjoyed the variety of work but her relationship did not work and again she was on her own as a single parHowever, family issues ent. brought Debbie back home when she de- When looking at higher cided to embark on paid jobs in the papers something different. Debbie realised they all wanted people who Debbie went to college were HND qualified. for two years to do hair- She made a decision to dressing but felt there come home to Caithwas not enough money ness and do an HND in in that profession to Administration with support herself and two Business modules. She children. She got a job has been doing this now in BT as a call analyst, for two years but has where she progressed also got two part time onto Team Leader and jobs to see her through Multimedia Trainer but college - one as a finanshe had always wanted cial administrator and to do office work. She the other as a club secmanaged to secure a retary. job as a Secretary and Administrator at Doun- It has been quite hard reay for two project juggling a full time colmanagers. lege course along with two jobs and looking The experience Debbie after her son. Debbie gained in the six years has been fortunate howshe was at Dounreay ever in that her mum is was excellent but her a great support and dad became ill with can- helps a lot with childcer so she decided to care. Debbie spends leave and get a job in most evenings and Wick where she was weekends studying and closer at hand to help. at present has no social life but she was aware She secured a position of this when she made in Seaview Care Home the commitment to as the Home Adminis- study. trator. Again she learned a lot of skills in Debbie has very much management of staff enjoyed the two years and human resource although it has been a issues as well as ac- lot of hard work and counts. Then Debbie SUPPLEMENT

commitment in time managing herself to get all the assignments finished by the target dates. Notwithstanding the hard work, Debbie recommends studying to anyone at any age as it has made her realise what she can do and what potential she has. Debbie says “Age is no barrier to studying and improving yourself and I certainly intend to carry on doing some form of study over the next few years, although it will not be on such an intense scale. “ “From doing this HND I hope to secure a well paid job back down south in the summer and will attend night classes in Economics, Accounts and Spanish to enhance my career prospects further and one day move to Spain. It is never too late to change your life and studying definitely makes you feel more confident about yourself and your capabilities.”




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Margaret Cormack NC Business, Administration & Computing Studies Margaret admits that she did not really enjoy school and as a result did not get the results she would have liked. After leaving school, Margaret enrolled at Duncraig Catering College in Plockton for 2 years. Thereafter, she worked in various hotels for a number of years. She went back to study at Glasgow College of Food Technology and gained a lecturer diploma in catering. She came home to Lybster where she worked in the family business for 10 years. She married and moved to Thurso. Since then, she has worked in a local ironmongers and more recently in a local jewellers where she did a professional jewellers‟ diploma through home study. Unfortunately, Margaret was made redundant. She came to a crossroads in her life. After some consideration, she decided she wanted to

move into an admin role which meant going back to study. Initially, Margaret found it difficult to get back into a learning environment. She believes that it is more difficult to retain information as you get older. However, she soon established learning techniques which helps her study skills. There are a lot of younger learners in the class who Margaret says are more knowledgeable than her on computers. However, she has been able to transfer some of her strengths and life experiences to them so it has been a good knowledge exchange. This has helped her create shortcuts by using the computer. As well as studying full time, Margaret has taken on part time jobs to help supplement her bursary. As a mature student, she has commitments that younger students do not have to contend with such as a mortgage and bills. Margaret works part

time in Frasers, Thurso and also does a cleaning job and is a special constable with the police…...a very busy lady! Margaret admits that it is very difficult to juggle everything but she tries to do as much as possible during her free time at College. Margaret would recommend returning to college for anyone in a similar situation. She says “it is never too late to learn.” Margaret has applied to come back to college next session to do an HNC in Administration & Information Management.

Margaret says “it is never too late to learn.”

Business and Rural Studies Courses Available at NHC ECDL

NC Business, Administration and Computing Studies

Deer Stalking Certificate

Advanced ECDL

HNC Accounting

SVQ Level 2 Gamekeeping


NC Highland Gamekeeping

Microsoft Office Specialist Certification

HNC/D Administration and Information Technology

CISCO IT Essentials

HNC/D Business

HNC/D Equine Studies

CISCO Certified Networking Associate

BA Honours Business and Management

NC and HNC Equestrian by flexible study

PDA Digital Imaging

ILM First Line Management Award and Certificate

HNC Computing

MSc Leadership & Management

NC Equestrian Skills and Business Studies

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Silvia Jardine NC Childcare Silvia was a Law student in her home country of Ecuador for 2 years until the high costs of education forced her to discontinue her studies. She then moved to Europe. She married a local Thurso man in 1999 and moved to Thurso with no knowledge of the English language. A local high school teacher taught her English. This tuition together with practice allowed her to improve her English language skills.

Silvia is grateful for the support of course tutors. Being a small college, NHC affords its students more time for one-to-one support

In 2004, Silvia returned to College after the breakdown of her marriage. She enrolled on a cookery course and also worked in the Bowling Alley as it was then. She decided that a career in the hospitality industry was not really for her. From 1997 to 1999 Silvia had spent some time in Rome working in the care sector. She realised that this was a career that Care & Creative Arts NC Music Performance HNC Music HNC/D Professional Stage Dance BA Classical Ballet and Professional Performance HNC Sound Production NC Child, Health and Social Care NC Early Education & Childcare NC Health & Social Care SVQ Levels 2&3 Children’s Care SVQ Levels 2&3 Health & Social Care SVQ Levels 2&3 Youth Work PDA Care Services Management PDA Childhood Practice PDA Health & Social Care Supervision HNC Early Education & Childcare HNC Social Care BA Honours Child & Youth Studies BA Health Studies BSc Honours Psychology




she wanted to be involved in. So in 2010 she took the plunge and joined the NC Childcare course. Silvia is thoroughly enjoying the experience. She likes meeting people and learning about different cultures. During the course she spent 6 weeks work experience at Pentland View Nursing Home. Silvia does not mind whether she works with old or young people in future. She still finds the main barrier to learning is the language. In particular, understanding written work and she has to re-read text books a number of times to fully comprehend. However, she is extremely grateful to course tutors who she has found to be fully supportive As NHC is a small, personalised college, Silvia has been fortunate enough to receive one-to-one support when needed.



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David Longmuir SVQ Level 2 Professional Cookery While at school, David‟s Guidance Teacher advised him on a career in Hospitality. David went down another path when he got a job as an apprentice plumber. However, he was unable to complete the apprenticeship due to family commitments and a relocation from Aberdeen to Caithness. David then worked at Icetech (then Norfrost) for 4 years on the production line. He moved to the BT Call Centre and worked in an IT Support role for 10 years. Due to cutbacks at the Call Centre David decided to review his future career path. He came back to his first choice whilst at school— cookery. So, in September 2010 David enrolled onto the SVQ Level 2 Professional Cookery course at NHC— Thurso on a full time basis. David is also actively involved in the TA‟s as a Physical

Training Instructor and Lance Corporal. Earlier this year he received the news that he will be mobilised to go to Afghanastan. He will start training at the end of the May. David has therefore decided to take a year out and continue with the SVQ Level 3 in 2012-13. In November David took up a part time evening job working in the produce department at Tescos, Wick. The Hospitality course includes becoming involved in a number of functions throughout the year, so whilst supplementing his income, this part time job has meant that David has been unable to help out as much as he otherwise would have. In future, David would like to combine both interests and become a Regimental Chef with the TAs. He has already put in some practice by ordering supplies, preparing and cooking the 2010 Christmas dinner for the company and catering for 60 people on

Armistice Day. David particularly enjoys the „hands on‟ aspect of the course. He undertook a work placement at Dounreay. He enjoyed this as it is industrial catering which compares with cooking in the forces—ie cooking in bulk not small portions. He is grateful of the support from Anna Swanson and the Student Support team who have helped with advice and financial support. This is particularly helpful, says David when you are a single parent supporting a family and house.

David particularly enjoys the „hands on‟ aspect of the cookery course.

Hospitality Courses

SVQ Level 1 Food and Beverage Service SVQ Level 1 Food Preparation & Cookery SVQ Level 2 Hospitality Services SVQ Level 2 Professional Cookery SVQ Level 3 Professional Cookery SVQ Level 3 Supervision and Leadership Chef’s Skillseeker Training Chef’s Modern Apprenticeship Professional Chef and Keen Amateur classes HNC Hospitality HNC Professional Cookery BA Tourism & Hospitality Short courses available include:REHIS Elementary Food Hygiene REHIS Intermediate Food Hygience Meal Experience Menu Planning Stock Management and Portion Control

Hairdressing Courses SVQ Level 2 Hairdressing SVQ Level 3 Hairdressing

Beauty Courses

SVQ Level 2 Beauty Therapy SVQ Level 3 Beauty Therapy

Hospitality Beauty & Hair Students learn their skills in a real life environment

Claire Mackay Nicola Gomersall Amanda Sutherland Patricia Newlands SVQ Level 2 Hairdressing

Amanda travels from Helmsdale and back every day to attend her class.

The four girls admitted that they were not really interested at school. All had their first child at the age of 16 or 17 and concentrated on motherhood.

text book over her face! She prefers to revise when the kids are in bed and admits “it‟s the only time I can get 5 minutes peace.”

By joining the course, Nicola has sacrificed a large part of her spare time. There is more paperwork involved than she had originally envisaged.

Twenty six year old Claire worked in hotels, the local shop and did some bar work to earn extra income. In 2010, when her youngest started school she decided to return to college because she had always been interested in hairdressing.

Nicola started college to coincide with her youngest starting nursery.

However, she realised the commitment that would have to made before joining the course, in her own words Nicola said “you‟ve got to put in commitment to the course or you are going to end up getting nowhere.”

Claire now also has part time work in the local hairdressers in Castletown.

“this will be the first thing that I have actually achieved and finished and it feels really good.” Patricia Newlands SVQ 2 Hairdressing

When asked how she copes with study, work and looking after a young family, Claire says “I sometimes feel like pulling my hair out!” But, she is quick to point out, it was the right decision and she is delighted that she decided to take the step back into learning. Claire appreciates childcare help from family and her 2 sons attend the Casper After School Club. Claire fits in study at night, often falling asleep with a




She relies on TREATS afterschool club in Thurso and special needs childcare for her oldest son. Twenty nine year old Nicola found it difficult coming back into education trying to juggle all her commitments and establishing a structure without disrupting her home life. Nicola points out “the hardest part is finding the time and energy to juggle everything with 3 kids.” At this stage of the course, Nicola is realising the benefits and an outcome to all the hard work on the course as the class are now preparing CVs. Nicola is also grateful for the additional learning support she received with numeracy.

Twenty eight year old Amanda Sutherland has had part time jobs since she was a young teenager in her hometown of Helmsdale. Amazingly, Amanda travels back and forth every day from Helmsdale. Over and above her course, she works two nights a week and weekends in the local shop and does a commercial salon at the college one night per week. She is currently on work placement every Friday with a Dornoch Hairdresser. Amanda tries to do her project work during free periods in college

Apart from being exhausted all the time!, Amanda is keen to point out that she really enjoys coming to college. She was initially apprehensive that about being the oldest in the class of 12 but says that there is a good age mix and everyone gets on really well. The bond extends beyond the classroom with the girls catching up on Facebook and via email.

Patricia says “I did cooking because it was what I could do to make money but it was never really a challenge for me. I had wanted to do hairdressing for such a long time.”

Amanda finds the course particularly rewarding when she sees how pleased clients are and how good they feel after she has done their hair. Amanda says “it makes you feel like you have achieved something and over time you can see yourself growing.”

She praises the work of the learning support unit who helped her a lot especially with maths.

Patricia had originally applied to study Hairdressing at the age of 16. Instead, she worked part time in hotels and started working in the kitchens. She came back to college to take short cookery courses. It was after period of illness whilst working as a cook in Pentland View that Patricia took the plunge and decided to apply for her original passion—Hairdressing.

Patricia who started the SVQ Level 2 in 2010 is really enjoying the course and particularly likes working with clients.

All four of the girls are coming back next session to do their Level 3. They think that coming back to education at their age has been more advantageous because they are more determined to make a success of their life. They did not want to come to college to waste their time and as a result are much more committed whereas they all felt they were too immature when they left school to appreciate learning. They are much more aware of how difficult it is to get employment in a salon. Patricia says “this will be the first thing that I have actually achieved and finished and it feels really good.”

“the hardest part is finding the time and energy to juggle everything with 3 kids.” Nicola Gomersall

Claire Mackay returned to college when her kids started school. She is returning to do an SVQ Level 3 next session and will also continue to work part time in the local hairdressers in Castletown.

Jo Elver Evans

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PhD Jo did a BA Honours in Economics and French. She then travelled to France where she studied statistics for a year.

“It is not your lack of intelligence that holds

On her return to the UK, Jo secured a job in the City as a Trainee Fund Manager. She was keen to work on the trading floor where she would be more involved in making decisions on the banking side.

you back it is your lack of persistence”

Jo Elver Evans Phd student at the Centre for Energy & the Environment


She successfully secured employment with Morgan Stanley—the American Investment Bank—as a Trainee Runner. Jo then moved onto work at Barclays Capital for 4½ years as a Fixed Income Trader where she assessed the risk associated with individual trades.

Jo‟s passion for diving started at the age of 24. Her hobby brought her into contact with a number of marine biologists, whose stories she found fascinating. At this point, it crossed her mind that she was not going down the path that her true passion lay. However, after just finishing a 4 year degree and with no money, merely a mounting trail of debt, she dismissed these thoughts and concentrated on getting her career off the ground. Which as you have just read she did, accumulating pay rises, buying a house and enjoying the finer things in life that such a good salary allows.

Having worked in a high pressured environment , travelled excessively and worked tirelessly for up to 15 hours a day, Jo‟s hanThereafter, she was Credit kering for an outdoor way Risk Manager in the Finan- of life became stronger. cial Markets Division of Lloyds TSB. Whilst there, It was during a visit to Aberas part of a team of four deen in August 2006,at the people, she helped create age of 34, that Jo‟s life and maintain relationships changed dramatically. She with clients and analysed noticed an advert for an risk associated with trades Open Day at Aberdeen Uniconducted with the top 100 versity. Within a few weeks global banks. she had moved from London to Aberdeen to study Reading this impressive full time for a BSc Marine CV you are probably think- Biology! ing …… wow this girl is intelligent, has climbed the As this was Jo‟s second professional ladder in a degree there was no finanmale dominated indus- cial support available. She try…. So, “how can I relate therefore had to attend unimy situation to Jo‟s?” versity on a self-financing Well, read on……



basis. To do so, she rented her house out in London and used her savings. The return to study was a shock to the system! As a successful career-woman she had no reason to question her ability, but now found herself in a situation where she was „out of her comfort zone‟. She was now placed as an equal with other students and was not used to someone correcting her work. Jo said this led to her really having to push herself. She struggled with the change in how she had to work and initially this resulted in a drop in confidence. She was overwhelmed at how quickly her younger peers absorbed information. Their enthusiasm and wealth of creative ideas amazed her. The learning style was so different than when she was a student first time round and she found it very hard to adjust. In the end, she found that combining both the traditional and new methods brings a much more rounded skills base. After 2 years studying Jo hit a particularly low spell. However, her sheer determination and willpower saw her through to successfully achieving her honours in 2010.




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After completing the degree, Jo admits that she craved more mature company so she could speak about things like bills, the mortgage etc which were alien to her younger peers. After unsuccessfully applying for a PhD at the ERI, she was surprised to receive a call offering her an interview as there was a PhD vacancy for someone who was an experienced Marine Biologist and Economist—with expertise of risk analysis and marine biology. The PhD, based in the college‟s Centre for Energy and the Environment involves analysing the suitability of wind and wave to install, maintain and service marine renewable devices. Jo says “it is easy to think you cannot change course. But there is no career for life anymore so it is possible as long as you are willing to make sacrifices.” There are an increasing number of grants and hardship funds available for people returning to higher education. These are not huge amounts of money but with a bit of time and research they are available and can make all the difference.

Janice Hardie BA(Hons) Business & Management Janice left school after completing a sixth year at Thurso High School intending to then go on to study business at college in Aberdeen. Instead she met David and ended up working in the local branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland for a few years before getting married and having a family.

fully gaining an honours degree. Janice says “I have even surprised myself. I hope to be able to gain employment using some of the knowledge I have picked up along the last 6 years and I fully support the work of the college.”

Janice decided she wanted to be a stay at home mum where her time was fully occupied with her then two children, especially her daughter who went on to participate at a competitive level at swimming. She volunteered to act as secretary and press secretary during that period for the local swimming club and worked part-time at a local supermarket. Janice unexpectantly became pregnant again at the age of 36 and once Scott was about 7 years old she decided to go to North Highland College to up-date her skills and enrolled at NC level for a business admin course. Along with looking after her family and going to college Janice also volunteered to act as secretary for Thurso in Bloom and minute secretary for Homeaid after some gentle persuasion from a neighbour. Janice never expected to be on the final stages of an honours degree at her time of life. This would not have been possible without the support of her family and the local college. Janice did at times feel a bit isolated when she first started my studying as she was seen not in a bad way but as the mother figure of the group. The constant support from college lecturers and staff has encouraged her to reach the stage of hope-

Janice Hardie didn’t expect to be in the final stages of an honours degree at her time of life.

For further information on any of our courses or support available please phone, email or drop into one of our campuses.

Ormlie Road Thurso Caithness KW14 7EE

Achavrole Equestrian Centre Halkirk KW12 6XQ 01847 889249

01847 889000

Burghfield House Cnoc an Lobht Dornoch IV25 3HN

Tern House Alness Point Alness IV17 0UP

01862 811006

01349 882545




Adult Learners Brochure 2011  

North Highland College Adult Learners Brochure for 2011

Adult Learners Brochure 2011  

North Highland College Adult Learners Brochure for 2011