Returning to education helps mature student regain independence

Foundation degree student, Asia Iqbal, returned to college to continue her education after getting married and raising children.

Despite a lack of support from her family, she was determined to develop her knowledge and carve her own career path.

Return to education

Asia was out of education for many years and felt it was the right time to enhance her skill set.

“After getting married, I felt I had lost some independence. I was really keen to rebuild this, along with my confidence, so decided to embark on a new journey at Keighley College. 

“My decision was met with resistance from my family, which made the return to learning even harder, however I knew that I needed to focus on myself and eventually gain employment so I can support my family.”

The right decision

Asia’s academic journey started with a Keighley College community English course at her children’s school, St Mary’s Primary School. 

“The English course was amazing, it allowed me to meet new people and gain so much confidence. The programme opened up some fantastic opportunities for me to explore. 

“After I completed the course, I went on to study at the college’s Textile Academy, where I learnt to use the industrial flat bed machines and the overlockers.  The academy enabled me to develop key practical skills while also gaining valuable experience of a work environment.

Leap of faith

The brave decision to return to her studies helped Asia feel valued, providing her with a real sense of achievement.

“Throughout my time at college, the tutors have been absolutely brilliant and often acted as a second family. They were always keen to support me wherever possible and through regular encouragement and appreciation, allowed me to gain so much confidence. My tutors believed in me when no one else did; they gave me the energy to keep going and not give up.

“I would advise anyone in my situation to take the opportunity, overcome the barriers and don’t give up because it’s worth every minute. As long as you stay focused and believe in yourself, you can always find a solution to any problem. At the college, there is so much help available and I’d encourage students to always ask for support if they need it.”

Exciting future ahead

Asia hopes to find a role suited to her ambitions once she completes her foundation degree.

“I’m currently studying my foundation degree in supporting teaching and learning in schools. Once complete, I hope to find a job so I can support myself and my children.

“The programme has given me much needed independence and a real purpose in life. I feel incredibly valued and optimistic about my future. I would encourage all adult learners to return to education to pursue their ambitions; it gives you an immense sense of achievement.”
Find out more about our courses on offer here.

Couple excel with Access course

Keighley-based couple, Laura and Chris Smith, have always had an ambition to work in the healthcare sector. 

The recent pandemic gave them time to reflect on their career aspirations, realising they wanted to pursue their passion and study an Access to Health Science Professions course at Keighley College.

Choosing a college

When deciding on a college, Laura and Chris knew Keighley College was the perfect match for them.

Laura said: “As we live locally, we’re aware of the college’s great reputation so we knew this would be a good fit for us. After researching various courses, we thought the Access course sounded really interesting and engaging. As we both hope to go to university, this course provides us with all the tools, knowledge and skills needed to progress to higher education.”

Course highlights

The Access course allows students to study a range of health and science topics while gaining practical experience.

Chris commented: “The course is incredibly varied with many fascinating subjects, such as infection and immunity, control and coordination, complementary therapies, chemistry of drugs and psychology. These topics allow me to have a detailed, well-rounded knowledge of healthcare, giving me the perfect headstart for a nursing career.”

Laura added: “So far, the course has been amazing. As we are only studying three days a week, the course allows for flexibility around family commitments. Although it’s sometimes difficult to juggle work, family life and studying, the tutors have been exceptionally helpful by equipping us with all the tools we need to manage our work.”

Future plans

When they complete the Access course, Laura and Chris hope to study healthcare degrees.

Laura said: “I have always wanted to pursue a role in midwifery, which I hope to do when the course finishes in July. It’s been fantastic studying with each other on the course, as we’re able to support, inspire and motivate each other.”

Find out more about Access to Health Science Professions, as well as other Access to Higher Education courses, including Policing and Social Working.