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A return to education and a new beginning

Turning 30 was a key point in Becky Cooper’s life. Now 34, Becky from Weoley Castle has just completed her Level 3 in hairdressing and is looking forward to finding out her results.

Becky’s journey with South & City College Birmingham started three years ago. Having not long turned 30 and with herself and her partner unemployed for quite some time, they decided to come to an Open Day at the Longbridge campus of South & City College. By the end of their visit, Becky had signed up for a Level 1 hairdressing course and her partner a carpentry course.

Becoming a hairdresser was something Becky had dreamed about since her school years. However, Becky experienced bullying at school, which affected her career plans, and she found herself working in an office rather than following her dreams.

When asked whether it was daunting to return to education after such a long time away, Becky explained that she was in an adult only class during her three years of training from Level 1 – 3. She continued to explain how all of her classmates had bonded, how supportive they were as a group and that they are still regularly in touch now, despite the course finishing.

In particular, Becky wanted to praise the tutors, with special thanks going to Liz Farebrother. “Liz was an amazing support during my year studying at Level 2 when my best friend passed away.” Becky added, “I was allowed time off to grieve, and Liz then helped me catch up with extra lessons when I returned. I feel so lucky and privileged to have had all the tutors I did.”

She went on to describe how the tutors were instrumental in making learning during lockdown a positive, productive and inspiring experience. During difficult times for many and also looking after and home tutoring her two young children, the tutors were great at teaching online.

At the time of writing, Becky is currently volunteering at a local hairdressers, gaining valuable practical experience, answering calls, shampooing, blow drying and helping to apply colour. The plan is to continue to volunteer as it is flexible enough to fit around childcare needs. She explained that it is difficult to find flexible enough paid work, as childcare for two children costs £500 a week, and that is not financially feasible at the moment.

When asked whether she would recommend the College to others and what advice she would give to others in a similar situation, she very quickly replied, “I 100% recommend to others. I’ve had nothing but a very positive experience. For others that are thinking about it, bite the bullet and do it. I really didn’t enjoy school, but college is different. No regrets whatsoever. You never know, after I’ve walked the walk in industry for a few years, I like the idea of coming back to the College to teach.”

South and City College wishes Becky much success for the future.