Blackburne House has been a place of self-discovery for many women, enabling them to forge their path into a new career. Many of our staff have been students at Blackburne House. This gives our students a unique experience of being surrounded by women who have once been in there shoes.
We caught up with Jane, one of our tutors who herself studied at Blackburne House. She shares how Blackburne House ignited her love for education and inspired her to share that love through teaching; from having no direction to supporting others in their road to success.
What was your life like before Blackburne House?
My journey starts and ends at Blackburne House. For nine years I worked at the Blackburne House nursery. In 2013 I felt it was time for a change. I became a primary school teaching assistant supporting children with additional needs. But, this change in career wasn't as fulfilling as I had anticipated. I had many jobs until deciding to return to education.
What made you get back into education?
I needed a direction in my life! I knew that education was my passion; supporting peoples dreams, goals and careers. I wanted to be a teacher in adult education, supporting women like myself and showing them that it's never too late to achieve.
Jane with her Level 1 Exploration Class 2019
Why did you choose to study at Blackburne House?
Having worked in the nursery, knowing the encouraging learning environment Blackburne House is, it was my first choice. I saw an advertisement on social media and went along to the open day. I was anxious about the leap I was about to take but all the staff made me feel so welcome.
After the open day, I felt much clearer about what road to take to become a teacher. I made an appointment to come in the next day and see Gill Dulgarn as she was the Teacher Training tutor, and enrolled onto the course. After meeting Gill, she advised me that Level 4 Teacher Training would be the right course for me.
How did you find your experience at Blackburne House?
As I was studying part-time and work part-time I initially found this balance difficult. I had added pressure as I felt unhappy in my job at the time. After speaking with Blackburne House nursery managers they offered me a job straight away.
While training I had the opportunity to do my placement at Blackburne House. Supporting the tutor Vicky in Health Care was ideal for me with my experience working within the field. Unfortunately, Vicky became poorly and couldn't teach the class and with the support of Gill, I was able to take over the class.
What would you say to other women thinking of going back to education?
Take the chance, if I hadn't gone to the Open Day I would probably still be in a job that wasn't right for me. Blackburne House has supported me through my darkest days and given me a purpose to carry on, and I'm proud of the teacher I have become.
What are you doing now?
After gaining my teaching qualification I now work as a Level 2 and Level 3 Health care tutor. I have taught Level 1 Stress Awareness and
Level 1 Exploration. Both courses empower women to come back into education and help them find the courage and confidence to make a difference in their lives.
What's it like working at Blackburne House? How do you make a difference in your role to support the students?
I love working at Blackburne House, I feel supported and empowered by this incredible community. I use my own experiences to encourage and support the students. Over the past 3 years, I have taken part in numerous initiatives that positively impact the student's lives. I enjoy seeing the difference in the students as they become more confident and self-assured. As well as hard work and daily challenges we have had a lot of fun things happen such as:
Fundraising event for other charities. At our last event, for Paul's Place, we raise over £1500.
Visits from employers inspiring the students about what they can do after they have finished the course, and several students have obtained full-time jobs on completing their courses.
We have a food and clothing bank. Anyone who is in need can obtain help and support here at college.
I set up Wednesday Swap shop where students can come in and bring something to swap or just take if they need it.
I am teaching remotely so that my classes can still run and my students know I am here to support them.
80 meals around the world, where all of the students bring a small dish from their home country and we share and have lunch together.
These are to name a few things we do here at Blackburne House to ensure the students have the best experience and obtain the best education possible.