International Day of Education is an annual international observance day held on January 24th. The theme for 2023 is “to invest in people, prioritise education”. We caught up with one of our graduates, Catherine, on her time at Blackburne House and how her priorities changed and developed during her time studying with us...
Before Blackburne House, what were your priorities? How did they change when you started your course?
Before I came to Blackburne House, my priorities were to just have a job and pay bills. It didn’t matter what it was, as long as it paid the bills. It was the encouragement of my tutors, Jane and Tracy, which changed my priorities. Sometimes I didn’t believe in myself, but they reassured me that I could do it. My time at Blackburne House changed my priorities and I wanted to get a good education, to get my Maths and English GCSE’s, and to have a career and not just a job.
What made you get back into education?
Unfortunately I lost my job during the first Covid lockdown. Pre-Covid, I was working in a well paid job, and it made me realise what kind of life financial independence can give you. I aspired to build a career that was both well paid and where I had a high level of job satisfaction.
Why did you choose to study at Blackburne House and how did you hear about it?
My child wasn’t a child any more, and I decided it was time to invest my time in myself. I chose to study at Blackburne House after doing a pre-GCSE course online during the lockdown. Completing this course with such encouraging staff gave me confidence to stay on to do my GCSE’s. I saw other courses on Instagram and completed some short courses such as the Equality and Diversity course, and then signed up for the Pre-Access course.
What did you study and how did you find returning to education?
I studied Pre-Access to Healthcare, GCSE Maths and GCSE English. I was excited to start and not nervous at all. I found my time at Blackburne House easy and relaxed.
How did you find your experience at Blackburne House?
I loved it! The tutors at Blackburne House are particularly supportive, everyone was really nice.
What have you done with your qualifications?
I am now doing a degree at Edge Hill University in Operating Department Practice. As part of my degree I work in Alder Hey Hospital assisting with surgeries and anaesthetics. This is helping me to build a career I can be proud of instead of just a job. I love it – this is it!
What are your aspirations for the future?
I’ve really enjoyed working in the operating theatre and learning more as I go. An area that I’m particularly interested in is anaesthetics. I am going to follow on from my degree with a postgraduate Anaesthesia Associate degree. After that, I'll have a fantastic career and financial independence waiting for me.
What would you to say to women thinking about returning to education?
As women we play many different roles and wear many different hats which can make it hard to prioritise your education. Places like Blackburne House provide you with the support you need to succeed. I would say, 'go for it!' Don’t even think of the complications, because they work themselves out. The sooner you start your studies, the sooner you’ll finish and get a good job and be able to be more independent. You will feel better in yourself when you are accomplishing something.
If you're ready to take those first steps email firstname.lastname@example.org.