From education to employment

Jessica-Ann’s inspiring educational journey started right here at Borders College

Jessica outside Netown campus

@BordersCollege Receptionist Jessica-Ann Elder is nearing the completion of her University Degree in International Business Management. Here, she tells us about her inspiring educational journey and how hard work and support helped her realise her dream.

“When I left high school In 2010, I left in fourth year and I didn’t leave with great grades. I wasn’t eligible to go to University and at the time there was not a college course I wanted to do. I struggled a lot with dyslexia throughout high school and I didn’t know how to learn with dyslexia, so when the opportunity to work presented itself, instead of going into fifth or sixth year, I jumped at the chance.

“Between 2010 and 2018 I worked for different companies across the Scottish Borders, mostly the positions were based in administration. In 2018 I applied for an internal managerial position for the company I then worked for. During the phases of interviews, I passed the technical know-how, the company procedures and the specific requirements for the role, however, the only downfall was that my educational level was nowhere near what they were asking for. I found, looking at other managerial posts, that my lack of education was standing between me and the career I wanted. So I decided to go back to college, at the same time my big sister had just finished University, and this encouraged me to at least try.

“I applied and was accepted into the HNC Administration & Information Technology (SCQF 7) course at Borders College in Galashiels. I was extremely apprehensive about going back into education but I knew that I wanted to progress in my professional career and this was the first step. I was a mature student at this point but I still did not know how to learn with a learning disability so the Learning Support Team at the college arranged a diagnosis session with me so that a proper support plan could be implemented. I cannot express how much of a difference this made and, in May 2019, I successfully passed this course and obtained my HNC but, I wasn’t ready to stop learning.

“I applied for the HND Business (SCQF Level 8) – a two-year course and was accepted. This course would open a lot more opportunities for me that I hadn’t even thought of, for example, if I wanted to start my own business, but I had a different idea of what I wanted to be now. At the end of the first year in May 2020, Covid happened and so we went online from then on. Studying at home was a whole new hurdle everyone had to deal with, but the College made changes to accommodate and support the students whilst learning from home and in June 2021 I successfully passed the HND Business Year Two programme.

“Borders College and Heriot-Watt University have a programme that allows students who passed the HND Business course, with at least an A or B grade, to go straight into the third year of university.

“So, In June 2021 I found out that I was able to go to University. In September of the same year, I started the International Business Management (SCQF Level 9). As of May 2022, I will have obtained my University Degree in International Business Management. As I said before, I don’t want to become a manager anymore, instead, I want to teach. I am going to be working on my TQFE (Teaching Qualification in Further Education) once I have graduated from University and, whilst It was me that worked hard and got myself to where I am, I could not have done it without the support from my lecturers, who helped me learn and inspired me to keep going. I hope to do that for someone else someday.”

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