"Before coming to college I looked after my granddaughter for around 8 years. Then, when she went to school I was left with nothing much to do and all day to do it. So, after speaking to my daughters, I decided that I would apply to college.

"I was delighted to get a place on Certificate: First Steps to a Career in Childcare incorporating Skills for Work: Early Education and Childcare. I absolutely loved the course, I really enjoyed it all, but especially the child development and playwork elements all the things you think you know about but you really don't!

"My first day at college was a little daunting but as soon as I was in the class, that faded away. All of the students introduced ourselves and I felt I was accepted as an equal rather than being an outsider.

"And then I got a place on Intermediate Certificate: Early Education and Childcare incorporating National Progression Award: Playwork and Childcare. Id always planned to progress after the first course. I've always wanted to work with children, really throughout my life, but circumstances never really allowed for it until I reached 59.

"I'm really enjoying this year, too. It has been a fairly big step up from last year, and I'm finding the work more interesting and its definitely more in-depth and is really building my knowledge. I love the theory side of things.

"After I finish this year, I have a couple of options. I've been offered a place on National Certificate: Early Education and Childcare at the College, but the nursery I did my placement at this year, which I also now volunteer at, have asked me to go on their list and do my SVQ instead. So after I've finished this year, I've a bit of thinking to do!

"The placement element of the NQ course is so important because you learn so much about policies and procedures, but also about children; about what they like and don't like. The observation experience is invaluable because its all very well having theory knowledge, but you need to know how to apply that and then be able to adjust your plans once children are added to the mix! I also think that the practical experience gained on placement helps you to understand and contextualise what you learn in the classroom.

"The College has also been helpful and supportive with improving my computing skills. I really had no knowledge of computers before starting at the College. I mentioned to one of my lecturers last year that wasn't confident with computers and they set me up an appointment with the Guidance team who helped me an awful lot. I'm now getting the benefit of being able to do research, prepare powerpoints, take notes and write essays independently which is really great.

"Once I've finished my studies, whichever route I decide to go down, I'd definitely love to work in a nursery. I just love all of the excitement of working with and being around children.

"I would urge anyone who is thinking about a change of career and retraining in childcare to go ahead and do it. It is so, so fulfilling. Its an amazing experience and one I never thought I would have. I left school and just went straight to work and that was me right up until I came here and I've found the experience at college absolutely amazing."

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