DCG Applauds Adult Learners’ Commitment To Learning
Virtual learning and studying at home are not just the ‘new normal’ for young people across the county – it is also the challenge facing hundreds of adult students at Derby College Group who are juggling their studies with work and family life.
DCG offer a wide range of study programmes for adults ranging from ESOL and Maths and English in the local community to professional development, higher level technical studies and Access programmes as a gateway to higher education.
Virtual learning is continuing for all students across the College and teachers have applauded the commitment shown by adult learners – particularly those in key worker roles.
Sam Clarke, Team Manager Adult English, Maths & Access to HE, said: “The commitment shown by our adult learners has been astounding – especially those who are classed as key workers and are working extra hours.
“Many others are working from home and supporting their own children with their studies which cannot be easy and our teachers are doing a great job to support them during these challenging times.
“We have also had a surge of interest from local people who now have a greater appreciation that they need to upgrade their own skills – particularly in maths and English – both to progress their own careers and to better support their children.
“We are therefore planning to expand the capacity for community-based learning programmes once we move out of lockdown to help even more adults to return to education both to increase their skills and to improve their confidence.”
Among the adult learners continuing their education with DCG are:
Kimmi Thirlwell (45) from Derby is a healthcare assistant on one of the Covid-19 wards at the Royal Derby Hospital and still continuing her maths and English programmes online with DCG.
Kimmi, who is originally from Thailand, has her sights set on a future career as a nurse and needs formal qualifications to progress.
She said: “This has been a very stressful time and I will admit that I have questioned myself about whether I do want to be a nurse from recent experiences on the Covid-19 ward – particularly being with people who are dying without the families being able to be at their side.
“I know deep down though that I want to progress my career in the NHS and to be a nurse so I am trying to stay focused with my English and maths studies online and I hope that we will be able to get back into class in the not too distant future.”
Care worker and mother-of-two Ruth Mawby (31) from Newthorpe has been studying English GCSE at DCG’s Ilkeston Community College with her sights set on progressing onto an Access course and progressing onto a nursing degree.
“I work five 12-hour shifts a week so have been spending my days off with the children and then doing my college work at night.
“Although it has been a challenge, I have tried not to stress about it too much and to keep up to date with everything. We are not taking the GCSE exam this summer so I hope that I have done enough over the past year to get the assessment grade that I need to progress onto the Access programme.”
Paula Lees (48) from Heanor is due to complete the Access to Health Professions study programme at DCG’s Ilkeston Community College this summer and is then hoping to get an apprenticeship to train in Occupational Therapy.
Paula is juggling her college work with supporting her family including her 13-year-old son who is on the autism spectrum.
She said: “Having worked as a part time carer for much of my adult life, I wanted to step up my career and my goal is to work in Occupational Therapy.
“Working from home has been a challenge. We have had loads of support but I do miss the group as they are like a second family now. I used this time to concentrate on raising my grades so that hopefully I can get an apprenticeship with the NHS.”
Amanda Wright (38) from Ripley and Conor Corrigan (20) from Ilkeston are both key workers at Tesco whilst continuing their studies at DCG’s Ilkeston Community College.
Mother-of-two Amanda is on the Access to Health Professionals programme with her sights set on training to be a midwife or nurse.
“If my grades are good enough, I will be going onto the University of Nottingham based at the Queen’s Medical Centre. I am still doing all the work set to us and trying to stay focused but it is hard to juggle working evenings and weekends and also being there for my two daughters who also have school work to keep up with.”
Conor has returned to education to update his maths and English skills to improve his future career prospects.
“I was really enjoying going to college and I am managing to keep up with the work that we are sent so hopefully I will get the grades to help me progress in the future.
“Work has been stressful but we have the social distancing measures in place now so I feel better about that.”
Self-employed builder Martyn Crooks returned to DCG’s Joseph Wright Centre on the Access to Social Sciences programme alongside maths GCSE in his late thirties and is hoping to progress onto the University of Nottingham to study Sociology.
“I decided to join the programme after doing some voluntary work with a mental health charity.
“Building work has dried up because it is so difficult to get the materials to do jobs so I have used the extra time on my studies. I really hope that I will be able to start university this Autumn.”
Nubia Ulloa (44), who is originally from Ecuador, has been juggling her maths and English studies with her part-time hospital job as a health care assistant and looking after her husband and four daughters aged 11 to 17.
“I miss the classes at Sinfin Community Enterprise Centre and Boulton Children’s Centre because we are all the same situation returning to education and most of us have English as our second language.
“However, my goal is to train to be a nurse so that has kept me focused. It has been hard to juggle everything and my daughters are my first priority. Although we try and sit down together to work it can be distracting so I tend to stay up late to finish my own work.”
For more information about adult learning at DCG, the short term online study programmes available and classes that will re-start moving forwards, please visit www.derby-college.ac.uk or call 0800 028 0289.