A Devon college (@sdcollege) is reporting a large increase in adult learning courses as people re-evaluate their lives due to the pandemic.

South Devon College has seen applications from adults (19+) rise by almost 30% overall with the biggest increase in part time courses of 68% compared to last year.

“A lot of people are rethinking their work life balance since the start of the pandemic,” explained Katy Joy, adult learning lead at South Devon College. “And of course sadly others have lost their jobs and are looking to gain new qualifications and skills. Here at South Devon College we offer a a wide range of courses and qualifications with flexible learning and help and support every step of the way.”

42 year old mother of five, Sarah Pugh, went back into full time education three years ago.

“I had been out of education since I was 16 years old,” said the former auxiliary nurse. “When my last child was born I went into South Devon College and they recommended I did a free online course in mental health awareness. I really enjoyed it and next I did a Level 3 Health and Social Care qualification. Once I finished that my tutors suggested I did a degree.”

Sarah, who studied a Psychology degree at the College’s University Centre (UCSD) loved it and hasn’t looked back. And alongside her degree she studied a Level 2 and Level 3 Counselling qualification.

“It was so interesting and I absolutely loved it. It isn’t just about learning the subject, it increases your confidence and it shows you are keen to learn. Everyone at South Devon College and UCSD were brilliant. All the staff were very approachable and very supportive.  I loved going and I missed it when I left.”

Sarah is now a maternity practitioner and says without her degree it’s a job she couldn’t have applied for. Her advice to anyone thinking of going back into education is to go for it. “Just because you are older it doesn’t make you less of a valid student. Everyone can contribute something.”

South Devon College has seen an increase in adults returning to study A levels, as well as other more vocational qualifications such as hairdressing, beauty and fitness.

Home schooling may have not been plain sailing for everyone but the college has seen an 833% increase across its education courses and a big increase in people wanting to gain plumbing and electrical qualifications.

“Learning is a life- long skill,” said Steve Caunter, Assistant Principal of South Devon College. “It doesn’t end when you leave school. We hope we have a course here to suit everyone whatever their goal and ambitions, whether that’s developing new skills for a change in career, or just reaching out to meet people and learn something new.”

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