Perfecting the balancing act of parenthood, study and hospital work

19 August, 2021 11:08 am

Tending to people’s needs is something that adult learner, Kelli Smith, has always longed to do. 

After working as a healthcare support worker at Airedale Hospital for over 17 years, she decided to take her career one step further and pursue nursing.

Juggling parenting and a hospital job is challenging enough; however Kelli has found a new lease of life after returning to college at 37 years old to study Functional Skills in English and maths.

A new direction

Changing careers can be a daunting prospect for many, however as Kelli’s children got older, she decided now was the right time to take a different direction.

“Ever since my children were born, they have been my first priority, as I’ve always decided to concentrate on them. However, now that they’re getting older, I’ve had time to reflect on my long-standing ambition to pursue my career further; deciding to take the plunge back into the learning pool.

“I’ve always held nursing in the highest regard and had ideas of changing my career eventually, but I had to make a conscious effort to build my confidence and go for it. I was aware of Keighley College’s community-centered reputation, therefore I chose to sharpen up my English and maths skills.”

Managing responsibilities

Kelli was faced with the challenging task of handling parenthood and working through college studies – all while working at a busy hospital during the pandemic.

“The various lockdowns upheaved our everyday lives; especially with switching to home learning when bubbles collapsed. My children and I worked tirelessly to ensure their work was completed to the best of their ability, and the knowledge I learnt through my college courses really helped me support them.

“It was important for me to stay focused on my college studies, so I always made the effort to join additional revision classes and attend every lesson. My time at college was phenomenal; I felt incredibly supported by my tutors who were genuinely committed to boosting my skills and confidence.”

Continuing lifelong learning

This year, Keighley College is taking part in the Festival of Learning; a national campaign to celebrate the achievements of adult learners. 

“I would encourage everyone to continue learning as they get older; lifelong learning gives you the skills to adapt to an ever-changing environment. 

“I was over the moon to have passed my English and maths courses this year, meaning I’m one step closer to my dream nursing job. I’ll be returning to Keighley College in September to gain my GCSE maths.”

As part of the festival, Keighley College is working with partners across the region to deliver a range of taster sessions, short courses and open days for adult learners. Find out more here and discover our calendar of events.