We caught up with former TLI student Hayley recently. Hayley completed her BA (Hons) Professional Practice earlier this year, having previously studied for the FdA Teaching and Learning with The Learning Institute.
Courses: FdA Teaching and Learning, BA (Hons) Professional Practice
Year of graduation: 2019
Tell us a bit about what you are doing now?
I am currently managing two independent living centres for autistic adults, as well as a crisis unit for families of autistic children.
How did you find the process of returning to education/study?
The application process itself was very easy, and The Learning Institute staff were very helpful. However, the actual process of returning to education after a 25-year break was very daunting at first, but as soon as I had attended the first few lectures I soon settled in. I ended up absolutely loving the whole process and wish that I could do it all over again. In fact, I probably am!!!
How has your life changed since you started the course?
My life has completely changed since returning to study. When I started in 2016, I was working as B grade teaching assistant in a village primary school. I had been doing this job for 10 years and didn’t really see myself doing anything else. During my studies, I worked my way up to HLTA, then to assistant SENDCO, until I finally took a massive leap and left the education sector to become a manager in a health and social care setting.
On personal level I have far more confidence and have even learnt to drive. I am also enjoying the financial rewards of being able to further my career - being able to take my children on a luxury holiday was when it really hit home about how far I have come in a short space of time.
What do you enjoy most about studying for your degree?
I enjoyed learning new skills and then being able to go back and put them into practice within my setting.
What has been your biggest challenge during your studies so far, and how did you overcome it?
There have been many challenges over the three years, but my biggest challenge was managing a family, a full time job and a full time degree. I soon sorted that by being ‘super organised’, and found that making a timetable of every available hour was the way forward.
What’s the one piece of advice you would give to someone thinking about going back to education?
Tell your family when you have planned study time and stick to it! Be organised and prepared, don’t leave things to the last minute and don’t be afraid to use your tutors. They are there to help you and have a wealth of knowledge.