At Blackburne House, we believe that education changes peoples lives: giving our students a fresh start, a clear path to their future and the much-needed confidence to achieve their dreams.
We caught up with Frankie, our 2019 graduate of Level 2 Counselling at Blackburne House. Frankie's journey hasn't been straight forward - but through education, she was able to turn everything around. Frankie shared her life-changing story, her achievements and how she wants to help others - from prison with no confidence to self-belief and finding her purpose in life.
What made you get back into education?
My life had been filled with chaos and trauma. During senior school, I missed a whole three years, so by the time I did attend it was too late. Education had never really been a good experience for me so it was the last thing I wanted to do. But, I had goals and dreams that could only be achieved through education. Education was the key to opening the doors to my future.
Why did you choose Blackburne House?
I went to prison but worked hard to turn my life around and ended up working with Talent Match. My key worker mentioned Blackburne House so we went for a visit. The building is smaller than most colleges which was great for me at the time. I was anxious to explain my time in prison, but the staff were so welcoming, reassuring and encouraging that it put me at ease.
What did you choose to study and why?
I choose to study level 2 counselling as my own life has been complete chaos and full of trauma. Working through my issues made me want to help others going through similar things. I believe my own experiences will enable me to be a good counsellor and help to make a difference in people's lives.
Frankie with her level 2 counselling class
How did you find returning to education?
I found Blackburne house the perfect place to return to my studies, I don't think I could have got through a course anywhere else. My tutor was so supportive and encouraged me and others in the class, giving me confidence and helping me turn up every single week despite the battle with myself. This enabled me to push past my self-doubt and achieve my goals.
What would you say to other women thinking of returning to education?
I would say, no matter what you been through or your age, don't let fear stop you from making the first step. I let my fear rule my life and missed lots of opportunities. But, making that step to Blackburne House empowered me. Never stop dreaming and wanting more.
What are your plans for the future?
When I was younger I didn't enjoy education but since returning I am enjoying learning and now understand it's importance. I am currently studying level 3 counselling skills and will be studying my level 4 counselling in September. I am looking at studying psychology once I have completed level 4. I eventually want to work with female ex-offenders and support them to reach their potential. I think the more you learn, your aspirations change so who knows what the future holds? What I do know is that it's going to be amazing.