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First Class Student - Joleen's story

15 Jun 2020
Joleen Lewis had been working within the education sector since 2004 in a variety of support, pastoral and, most recently, teaching roles - though this was never the path she had originally envisioned for herself.

Although Joleen had always enjoyed learning, her experiences of formal education - particularly during secondary school - were unfortunately negative and led to a lack of confidence, little self-belief and anxiety. Shortly after leaving secondary school, Joleen became pregnant, ended her college placement and began life as a young, new mother.

After 3 years of attempting to navigate motherhood, Joleen decided that she was ready to re-enrol at college and so, she enrolled onto a Level 3 course, ‘Supporting Behaviour and Learning’ at a local college. A year later, when Joleen had completed a level 3 qualification, she began working within a range of different education settings with children and young people.

In order to improve her employment prospects, Joleen realised that she would have to deepen her knowledge and develop her practitioner skills within the education sector through a higher-level qualification.

Joleen had been searching for a part-time undergraduate course for a while but finding a suitable course which allowed her to continue to work full-time was proving difficult. However, she accidentally came across an advert from the Growth Company in central Manchester, advertising a variety of undergraduate courses through reputable universities and on a part-time basis!

Joleen immediately got in touch, met with the course leader and started her journey on the BA (Hons) Professional Development in Education. Joleen graduated with First Class Honours and then went on to complete her PGCE with the Growth Company Education and Skills.

When asked about her studies, Joleen said; “As a mature student, it is sometimes impossible to avoid the unexpected stresses and challenges of life; the tutors who have taught me personally have always been understanding, supportive and considerate of any personal issues which may have affected my attendance or my ability to complete a piece of work by a particular deadline.

The Growth Company has provided me with several opportunities to improve my career prospects, through accessing higher education without it negatively impacting my full-time working schedule.”

When asked if she would recommend the Growth Company Education & Skills, Joleen said “Yes, in particular to anyone considering returning to higher education, who may be unable to commit to a full-time university course for personal or financial reasons then I would definitely recommend them.”

Rosemarie Davies, Head of Higher Education Programmes said: “Joleen came to study with us initially to start a Foundation degree in Education as she felt that this would be useful for her in her role as a teaching assistant in a secondary school in Manchester. Joleen worked hard and enjoyed her studies and could see immediate results in term of her skills and confidence in the classroom. She then achieved a first-class honours degree, BA Hons Professional Development in Education, before progressing to complete her PGCE 14 plus, which she expects to pass with distinctions in theory and practice. Joleen has decided to continue learning and I am absolutely thrilled that she has been accepted to study for a Master’s in Educational Leadership at the University of Manchester. Throughout her time with us, Joleen has been an exceptionally successful student and we are delighted to have been able to give her these opportunities.”

If you are interested in a university course which offers lower fees and smaller classes sizes, get in touch here.