My name is Arlene Nicoll, I am 48 years old and I undertook an HNC in Admin & IT (SVQ Level 7). I studied the course over a 2 year period (part time) to accommodate work and family commitments. On leaving High School in 1989 my first job was with Fife Council (formerly Kirkcaldy District Council) and was an administration orientated role. After some years of not working I wanted to get up-to-date with computer software programmes and refresh my IT skills.

I originally only intended to undertake a college course to fill some of my time in as I had 3 days off during the week. I met with Dawn Scott at Fife College who was in charge of the Admin & IT courses at the college. She said with my qualifications and previous working experience that I could be put forward for the HNC course in Admin & IT.

I was initially slightly apprehensive as I was unsure how I would fit in with the younger students. I was 46 when I first started the course and I think I was one of the oldest students in the class! However, the age difference did not seem to affect my progress with the course.

I enjoyed the theory side of the course – we had many reports to do on many different subjects and I found this to be challenging but also very rewarding when the task was complete and you could see how much work had went into the reports. Positive tutor feedback was also very encouraging and made you want to do even better with the next task.

I was already working two roles within NHS Fife at the time I started this course. However I did want to try and progress further with my secretarial role at the NHS and this HNC has definitely helped with that.

I completed the HNC in Admin & IT in June 2020 and was very happy to have obtained an “A” grade. All the hard work and effort had made it all worthwhile.

With college classes now being finished I was now in a position to look for more hours within the NHS. In November 2020 I was successful in achieving a Medical Secretary role with the Planned Care Directorate, within the Urology Department. This is a promotion for me and I am sure that the fact that I had completed an HNC in Admin & IT definitely helped me to gain this role.

Since completion of the course I have been working my 2 roles within the NHS at Victoria Hospital. I was a Support Medical Secretary for 3 days during the week and a Ward Clerkess in Admissions Unit 1 at the weekend.

I am now a Medical Secretary working 25 hours during the week and am continuing with my 12 hour weekend role in Admissions Unit 1.

I would most definitely recommend this course to others in a similar situation. This course gave me the opportunity to get to know some really nice people and work with some lovely and very dedicated lecturers. These are people that I would not have met otherwise.

With me doing the course over 2 years I became very fond of Joyce Abbie and Dawn Scott. These are both very dedicated individuals who always went the extra mile for their students. I won’t ever forget their positivity.

My ambitions for the future are to continue to do well with my NHS roles and in particular I would like to thrive in my Medical Secretarial role. There is still a lot to learn with this role but the team have been so very friendly, helpful and welcoming to me which has made the transition.