Jennifer Mullan was working full-time as a Hair Salon receptionist before becoming a mother. She then progressively cut down her hours until working only one day a week. Caring for her children strengthened an aspiration she always had: to change career path to become an Early Education practitioner. Rather than going back working full time, Jennifer chose to give herself a chance to realise her dream.

In January 2014, at 38 year-old, Jennifer joined the Level 4 course in Early Education and Childcare at West College Scotland Greenock campus. This short course was a great opportunity for her to see if she could cope with studies while maintaining a balanced family life. She says: “Starting with a short course was a great way to see if I could fit College life in my already busy family life. It was also a good way to ensure that the education route I was choosing would meet my aspirations.”

Jennifer was a very committed and enthusiastic student from day one – and this allowed her fast track progression. After finishing her Level 4 course in June 2014, she moved right up to the Level 6 NC Early Education and Childcare course in August 2014, and then, one year after, joined the HNC Early Education and Childcare course, which she’s currently undertaking.

This progression was not in Jennifer’s plans when she joined College, as she explains:

When I entered College I did not see as far ahead but the positive feedback from the lecturers made me believe I could go further. They really boosted my confidence and I just went on as I greatly enjoyed myself.

For Joan McKillop, Childhood Practice Curriculum Quality Leader at our Greenock campus, Jennifer’s success came as no surprise:

Jennifer is a committed student, confident enough to ask questions and very sociable. She’s a real team player in the classroom, and that’s also what makes a student successful.

Before entering College, Jennifer was worried about returning to education as a mature student. Her concerns vanished very quickly: “From the minute you walk in the College, right from the front desk, the College staff are welcoming and helpful. The lecturers are very approachable and supportive.

College life is not as challenging as I imagined. There’s really a diversity of people in the class, from all age groups. It’s great because we can support each other. Younger ones help us, mature students, when using new technologies and we can share with them what we’ve learned through our life experience”.

Jennifer encourages any mature student who’s looking for a career change or progression to get into College: “Having life experience gives you determination and helps you thrive. Of course, you have to restructure your family life but it’s totally doable. It’s all possible and most importantly it’s very enriching!”

Jennifer’s advice to working people who want to go back to study: “Get up and go for it. Don’t hold back.”

After graduating from her HNC, Jennifer has still to choose between two routes – to gain employment as an Early Education practitioner or to further her studies with the BA Childhood Practice. Anyhow, Jennifer knows she will be soon achieving her dream and starting a career in Early Education.