Leicester College Blog

Nazia returns to education to fulfil graduation dream


Nazia Ahmed was late to education, joining Leicester College as an adult learner in her 40s.

“My parents were economic migrants and their daughters were not encouraged to take part in education,” Nazia recounts.

Nazia is a single mum and has experienced the birth of a daughter, treatment for cancer, coping with depression, buying a house by herself and a range of jobs including working in a clothing factory, at a call centre, in care work and in sales.

Nazia signed up to study the Level 2 Diploma in Supporting Teaching and Learning, and in the first few days of her course, was approached by her teacher, Stephanie Lowe. Stephanie immediately recognised Nazia’s potential and recommended that she go on to the Level 3 course the following year. At that stage, Nazia says that “I couldn’t even put a paragraph together, but this motivation helped me so much.”

After completing her Level 3, Nazia is now moving on to a Foundation degree course at Leicester College, accredited by the local De Montfort University. This will enable her to focus on elements such as pastoral support and counselling children within schools. Nazia is hoping that this will lead on to the top up degree course at De Montfort University, as she “dreams of a graduation picture, wearing my gown!”.

“Leicester College and Steph, in particular, have been amazing. They’ve been really approachable and listened to me when I was struggling. I’ve been working in two jobs – as a teaching assistant and in care work – during my course so as well as my ongoing cancer treatment and looking after my daughter. They’ve been very accommodating in helping me to balance all of these aspects of my life.

“The safeguarding unit was the toughest part of the course and I’ve walked away from lessons at the College knowing that I’ve really learnt something each time.

“I’ve recommended the course to several other people. I’d say that it’s only natural to be scared as an adult, returning to education, but you can overcome those barriers and once you do, there’ll be no stopping you!

“The College can also help with meals, bursaries, grants, bus passes and other things to help you, as well as accommodating your timings so that people can continue to work, which is very important for adult learners.”

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