From education to employment

“I’m Really Proud of What I’ve Done,” #GCSE Success for Exeter Adults

As thousands of teenagers picked up their GCSE results last week, few would have spared a thought for adults nervously arriving to collect their own results after a year of hard work.  

That was exactly the case for a number Exeter College’s GCSE students as they arrived at the college on Thursday to see if their hard work had paid off. 

Alison Squire, 41, previously struggled in school and decided to study at Exeter College as a personal confidence-builder as her son starts to prepare for his exams in the coming years. 

Alison chose to study for her GCSE English at the college and achieved a magnificent Grade 7 (A) as she collected her results last week.  

“I couldn’t be more proud of myself. For the first time in my life I am genuinely really proud of what I’ve done,” said Alison.  

“When I was a teenager I really struggled in school, I couldn’t understand things and I never really fitted in. I came to Exeter College as a confidence boost and to prove that I can do things.”   

While Alison didn’t attend college with the aim of broadening her horizons in her work at a pre-school, she understands that achieving her new qualification will open doors for her in terms of career profession.  

Alison continued: “I’ve got a lot more prospects now in my job but I still want to progress my maths skills further as well to help me even more.” 

The 41-year-old will be returning to Exeter College in the coming months to do exactly that; starting with her Functional Skills Maths before gearing up to take on the GCSE-level qualification.  

Alison wanted to pay tribute to the staff at Exeter College for the role they have played in helping her back in to education.  

She said, “I was so nervous on the first day of coming here but everyone just made me feel so welcome. 

“I’ve loved coming back to college and the class has been really supportive. I’ve made some great friends and there’s a really good team of people helping. Personally, I just want to say a massive ‘thank you’ to my tutor Wendy for all the support, encouragement and belief that she has given me.” 

Fellow GCSE English student Karen Mcanally was also collecting her results and she was delighted with her Grade 6 (B) qualification.  

The GCSE certificate marked the next step in Karen’s journey towards studying a psychology-related subject at degree level.  

Karen, 44, also returned to college having previously struggled to engage with formal education.  

“I didn’t do very well in school, I preferred to be more social at that time,” said Karen.  

“I didn’t pass anything at school but I need these qualifications to get on to Exeter College’s Humanities Access to Higher Education course before hopefully getting a degree. 

“I was nervous about coming back to college but I also knew it was going to be completely different to the last time I was in school. This time I was coming to college and actually wanting to learn. The teaching is completely different to when I was first in school because now you can get that time with teachers when you need it and you’re not just ignored at the back of the class if you don’t understand something.”  

The next step in Karen’s journey is returning to Exeter College to study Functional Skills Maths before taking on the GCSE level qualification.  

Did you know Exeter College offers a wide range of Professional and Leisure courses for adults?

And under new government legislation, your course could be free, as the government are now paying course fees for adults earning less than £16,009.50 per annum.

The Adult Education Budget (AEB) will enable providers in receipt of ESFA funded AEB to fully fund learners, who are employed and in receipt of a low wage and cannot contribute towards the cost of co-funding fees. The low-wage threshold has been increased to £16,009.50.

The hope is that this trial will help to increase AEB participation and lift social mobility barriers to learning for those who would not otherwise struggle due to course fees being unaffordable. It is hoped it will also support those that are in low paid employment and are wanting to further progress in work and in their chosen career.

Exeter College will be enrolling adult students for courses starting in September, at our Centre for Creative Industries, on Tuesday 3rd September from 9am-5pm. 

The 2019 to 2020 eligibility requirements for learners to receive full funding during the trial are:

  • those that are eligible for co-funding for provision, up to and including level 2, and,
  • earn less than £16,009.50 annual gross salary.

To be able to enrol on a course you will need to provide:

  • evidence of your gross annual wages, for example, this could be a wage slip or Universal Credit statement, within 3 months of your learning start date, or a current employment contract, which states gross monthly/annual wages.

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