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A former student of @S_ERC about to embark on a second career, is urging others to apply for a part time course, online at serc.ac.uk, and take the first step in transforming their future by returning to education.

Bangor woman Shirley McCracken (53), worked for 24 years at both the Belfast Waterfront Hall and the Ulster Hall in conference and events, before deciding on a career change. After researching her options, last year she enrolled at SERC to pursue a new role as a classroom assistant.

Shirley said, “I enjoyed working in the business tourism sector, but I felt I was ready for a change and a new challenge. My family commitments were changing, and I wanted to do something new. I had worked part-time since having my family and now that my children were more independent, I knew the time was right for me to make the change.

“I have always loved that period when my own children were little and at school - that time with children is very precious. So based on my own personal experience, I thought the role of classroom assistant would be a good change of direction for me. I secured a placement at Ballyholme Primary School and enrolled on the Level 3 Certificate for Classroom Assistants in SERC’s Bangor Campus and it turned out to be the best decision. As and adult returner, the whole experience was fantastic. It was great meeting new people and the interaction in the class supported everyone’s learning. My tutor was extremely knowledgeable, supportive and helpful and I often wondered how I would have managed without her input. My placement proved invaluable in providing that essential hands-on experience along with guidance and support in the school setting."

She added, “During the course I also developed a particular interest in special educational needs and in the second term, I enrolled on the OCN Level 3 Award in Working with Children and Young People with Special Needs, also at SERC. The course provided me with further insight and learning in this area and complemented what was being covered on the Classroom Assistants course."

Shirley concluded, “I would highly recommend coming to SERC for anyone wishing to gain these qualifications. I thoroughly enjoyed both courses. I am excited to be taking up a post as classroom assistant in September. And as for anyone thinking of returning to education to try something new, I would say, go for it. It is a new challenge but hopefully, like me, you will find it invigorating.”

Ken Webb, Principal and Chief Executive at SERC said,

“There has never been a more important time for people to think about enrolling on a part-time course. This could be the first step for someone retraining to change career or get on the job ladder; upskilling to boost their promotion prospects; getting back into education or simply taking on a leisure course to learn a new skill or develop a hobby. Whether you are currently working, furloughed, unemployed, retired or have been raising your family, if you are thinking of returning to education there is something for everyone here at SERC."

He added, “We offer a range of options to make sure your part-time study is flexible and cost effective. Our students tell us that their courses are both time and money well spent, so we encourage you take that first step and see how a course at SERC can help you transform your future.”

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Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

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