8th May 2019
Barbara Meiklejohn left school at 16 and now, 42 years later, she has returned to education, proving to herself she has the skills to go to university.
On leaving school Barbara went straight into work and has had a varied career in a number of different roles. Working with figures she learnt the importance of accuracy, attention to detail and good communication which contributed enormously to her success. Using these transferable skills she held down jobs in private industry, local government, the police and the armed forces. Then later, with her own family commitments, Barbara looked for work to fit around their needs and for the last fifteen years she has worked in schools, in a pastoral support role.
Barbara says: “Now I am six years away from retirement and even though I’ve had a fantastic working life the one thing I still wanted to achieve is Higher Education. With my children grown up, I took myself out of my comfort zone and applied to York College to study an Access to Business & Computing course. With no previous experience in computing, at first I felt I was walking face first into a cliff but thankfully my tutors encouraged me to carry on. Balancing college work with my job and family commitments has been a huge challenge and a lot of hard work but my family, work colleagues, tutors and fellow students have all been incredibly supportive. I have absolutely loved the opportunity to come back into learning, it’s been a hugely enjoyable experience. I knew it had all been worthwhile when I received an unconditional offer to study Human Geography at York St John University.”
The Access course has given Barbara the skills to move on to university where, due to the introduction of the government funding for part-time degree courses, she will continue to enjoy her studies whilst working. Ultimately she hopes to volunteer for emergency response when she retires.