#StudentSuccessStories No.1 comes from Patricia Pritchard, a CMI Level 7 student with DLC.
My name is Tricia and I’m 59 years old – 60 in three weeks time! I’m employed as a trade union representative by a small education trade union and in April I celebrated 31 years of employment with the same employer. I’ve climbed the ladder by hard work and determination which I’m particularly proud of. Working in an academic environment with not even an O level to my name at times has been hard. I’ve experienced prejudice and academic snobbery from both members I’ve successfully represented and colleagues alike. However, I reached the dizzy heights of Senior Professional Officer in spite of it.
I’ve never let my lack of qualifications stand in my way. That’s not to say I had no respect for study and achievement, it’s just that when I was young I was in a hurry to leave school and start work and that’s exactly what I did. By the time I realised that wasn’t particularly a good move, I was married and not in a position to give up work and go off to college / university. You make the most of your life choices. Plus, I knew I’d always work hard and aim to achieve in any case.
When I was 56 I went through a major life change and for the first time in many years I found myself living alone, in an area of town I was unfamiliar with and with evenings and weekends to fill. I wasn’t interested in taking up knitting or joining the local ramblers so I decided I’d set my brain to work – I’d learn something!
When I started to research what courses there were out there, the methods of learning, duration and of course costs of courses, I was impressed by the choice offered by DLC, the accessibility and the level of support available. I was worried though. I’d not done any formal studying since leaving school at 15 – we didn’t even have computers back then. I needed to speak with someone to check out not only my eligibility but to get an honest assessment and assurance that I wasn’t about to make a monumental fool of myself. I had confidence in my ability to work at a particular level but no idea of my learning style, my capacity for study – I hadn’t the first clue about writing assignments and as for referencing…
I needn’t have worried. From first contact I found everyone to be so friendly and approachable, nothing I ever asked was too much trouble. I enrolled to study and attain the Level 7 Strategic Management and Leadership qualification. Well if I was going to do it I may as well stretch myself – right?
It made good sense to me to choose a course that would enable me to strengthen skills I knew I already had. To finally obtain credible, academic acknowledgement for the position I already held. It would test me and enhance my skills, preparing me for even further development within the senior leadership team.
I didn’t find it easy at first. I had to learn self discipline and find motivation at the end of a hard day at work but it came over time and once I’d began submitting work and getting positive feedback there was no stopping me. Getting work marked and reading how well your tutor believes you’re doing is amazing. Like I’ve already said, it’s been many, many years since school and that would have been the last time I handed in work for marking. A really nerve-racking experience at first, I was absolutely sure I’d get my work back with a red pen through it and telling me I’d totally misunderstood the brief but that never happened.
The learning experience was so positive and by the end I felt I knew my tutor and all the support team, they were all so encouraging – even to an old bird! I’d like to if I may, single out my tutor Martin Thirkell, I can’t praise him enough and he has no idea how his encouraging remarks boosted my confidence, he really is a fantastic motivator, very supportive and I am forever grateful.
As I reach 60 I’m not expecting my qualification to change my career drastically. I’m not proposing to change my job at this late stage although I fully accept that having the qualification would open doors if I wanted it to. I’m also now a qualified member of the Chartered Management Institute and this entitles me to use the letters Cmgr MCMI after my name – how good is that? I did this qualification for me. I wanted to challenge myself and I did. I wanted confirmation that I can work to an exceptionally high standard and I got that. I wanted to say to my employer; “I’m still hungry, I’m still ambitious and at 60, DO NOT WRITE ME OFF!”
We found Tricia’s story so inspirational and encouraging, it’s fantastic to hear success and confidence in our learners.
Have you got a story or experience to share about your studies? If you’re a past or present student, we’d like to hear from you! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your interest.
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Senior Professional Officer