Students who have completed a part-time course at SERC have spoken of how their courses have been time and money well spent. Alan Patterson, a Contracts Manager at CES Quarry Products, studied the HND construction and built environment course and explains how it helped him secure a job promotion.
33-year-old Alan, who is looking forward to graduating in September, had been out of education for over 15 years when he enrolled to SERC and said that although he was nervous about returning to education he would strongly encourage others to do the same.
Having been made semi-redundant during the 2008 recession Alan decided it was time to hit the books and signed up to the course after attending an open evening. Alan explained “I was nervous about returning to education but I can safely say it was the best thing I have ever done. Everyone was so friendly and the smaller class sizes suited me. My advice to others is to attend an open day and speak to the tutors and careers staff about their options. “After researching the course, I learnt that it was only a few hours a week. I could fit study around my full-time job and family life, so I decided to apply for it. I saw it as my opportunity to gain a formal qualification and improve my career prospects. It's been 15 years since I did an assignment, so the idea of doing that was a bit daunting. It felt good once I'd completed it.
A huge sense of achievement. I am looking forward to graduation and starting my degree in October.” Caylan Ellesmere, Alan's tutor said: “Alan proves that it is never too late to go back to education. We have many mature students who are returning for a variety of reasons from retraining or coming back to get the qualifications they didn’t get when they were younger.
“And that is the beauty of having your local college on your doorstep. Alan is a great role model and we would encourage everyone to consider part-time education. We all know what a challenging climate we are working in and it is important to get the skills and qualifications which employers want.”
For vocational courses, there is a 25 per cent reduction for those aged 60 or over at time of enrolment. There is also a 50 per cent reduction for those receiving guaranteed pension credit, rate relief, working tax credit, income-based employment and support allowance, income support and income-based jobseeker’s allowance, this applies to vocational courses only.