Ferguslie Learning Centre: Not just a place to learn – but a family away from home!

Thirty-Eight-year-old single mother of three Heather Wallace from Ferguslie Park talks about her experience of the Ferguslie Learning Centre, and her aspirations for the future.

Heather who is no stranger to community learning has recently completed several courses including:  Play in Early Learning and Childcare, Influences on Mental Health and Wellbeing, and Coping Strategies and Building Resilience.

After losing her husband five years ago Heather found herself withdrawing from family, friends and the community.

Heather said, ‘I spent long hours on my own and lacked confidence I once had. A friend that had attended the college for a few years talked me into giving it a go. It was something I had never thought I would see myself doing again and the thought of entering education again was very daunting.’

Regardless of her anxieties Heather popped into the Ferguslie Learning Centre to see what was available. We’re delighted to say Heather signed up there and then!

She added, ‘I went along to see how I would feel about it although I wasn’t sure whether I would stay. Everyone at the learning Centre was very welcoming as were the other class members. I found myself at that point signing up to two courses in Dementia Awareness and Care and I've since gone on to complete many other courses. I have found my time at the Learning Centre very enjoyable the staff, tutors and others attending make it a very comfortable environment to learn in.’

Heather added, ‘Having the opportunity to learn new things has allowed me to focus on things that interest me and have given me the drive to set goals and focus on a new career path. Being back in education and having to complete both open book and closed book assessments I found challenging in the beginning. I was so nervous but having the support of the fantastic tutors definitely helped put my mind at ease and I completed and passed my first courses. This was a massive achievement for me and gave me the motivation and confidence to go further and complete more courses.’

After completing numerous courses in counselling, understanding mental health and wellbeing, coping strategies and building resilience and care Heather felt ready to take the next step and finally found the courage to apply for HNC in Counselling at the main campus in Paisley.

Heather said, ‘I would definitely recommend the College to anyone that wishes to further their education. The Ferguslie Centre isn't just a classroom to learn in or all about exams or assessments, it's also a place to gain new friendships, it’s a place to gain confidence and a sense of achievement. It's a place where you can push yourself to be the best you possibly can be.

My advice to future students would be if you get the chance to join a course at the learning centre take it grab it with both hands you won't be disappointed. It may be a little scary at first, but you'll be welcomed and made to feel at ease. Don’t allow your fear to put you off like I almost did, I haven’t just gained qualifications from attending I have gained friends, confidence, and a family away from home.’

Kathleen Brown, Ferguslie Centre Administrator said, ‘Heather is an inspiration.  She has come through so much personally and it must’ve taken quite a bit of courage to walk through the Learning Centre doors, but she achieved it and so much more.  Heather participated in a number of classes and she was always actively involved in class activities, encouraging and very helpful with other students, especially those quite vulnerable even through lockdown.  Heather will be missed at the Centre but we wish her all the very best on her next journey”.

For more information on what you can study at our Ferguslie Community Centre - click here for our current timetable!