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Life in full motion for university level student

The last time we caught up with motor vehicle student and mum of two Kay Green, she had come to the rescue of a damsel driver in distress just before Christmas in 2019.

When the college last spoke to Kay about her career ambitions, she had plans to complete her Level 3 in Light Vehicle Maintenance, go on to study Automotive Engineering at Level 4 and complete her Level 5 in teacher training.

Nearly three years later, the college caught up with Kay to see how she was getting on and find out more about the rollercoaster journey she has been on to get her within a year of becoming a fully qualified tutor.

Now 36, Kay from Frankley is about to start her second and final year of her Post-Compulsory Education & Training (PCET) course and is already helping with the teaching of motor vehicle courses at the Longbridge (Bournville College) campus.

Kay’s working life started with an apprenticeship in customer service straight after leaving school. After completing her Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeships working in various roles, a chance accident in 2010 tipped her life upside-down when she broke her leg badly in five places.

After five years of various leg operations and rehabilitation treatments, mental health issues started to appear due to lack of mobility and not being able to work. In 2016 her marriage broke down and Kay’s future as a single-mum looked bleak with no way out and no options.

Thankfully in 2016, the tide of Kay’s fortune was starting to turn. She met a new and supportive partner who was later to become her husband and they discussed the options of Kay returning to education. Not necessarily to retrain, but to give her a focus and something positive to do.

It wasn’t until 2018 that Kay visited South & City College’s Longbridge campus for an open day. Without a clear idea about what to study, she was looking for inspiration. Ever since she was young, Kay would help her dad ensure that the family cars were shipshape. Small jobs such as changing brake pads, discs, oil changes and filters, were all jobs completed at home by her dad with help from Kay. It was this childhood memory, that inspired her to build on the knowledge she already gained, to be able to look after her own family cars in a similar fashion.

After speaking to tutors during the open day, she signed up and enrolled on the Level 2 Motor Sport course, where she got to work on the college’s racing cars: the Toyota, Ford Focus RS and the Westfield. During this course Kay decided that she could make a career out of becoming a mechanic and planned on progressing to the Level 3 course to become a mechanic and MOT Tester.

Across both of her courses, Kay completed her studies and passed with merits and distinctions. As she progressed onto her Level 3 course, Dan Cave, Head of School: Motor Vehicle for Longbridge, asked her whether she would be interested in teaching.

When we spoke to Dan, he said of Kay, “Her enthusiasm and passion for everything from classic cars to modern vehicles is an inspiration to young people and a breath of fresh air to find someone so dedicated to everything automotive. She’ll make a great tutor and we look forward to welcoming her to the Longbridge teaching team as fully fledged tutor.”

As Kay is still having issues related to the leg break, a career as a mechanic would have taken its toll over time with all the crouching and bending required, so a career as a tutor provides a great solution. As teaching happens during term time at South & City College Birmingham, it also means that it helps with managing childcare and that she gets to spend quality time with her two kids whilst they are growing up.

When asked about her experience studying with the college, especially since starting her teaching training, Kay said, “It’s been intense getting teaching hours in, as well as coursework, assignments and marking. It has also been hard being a mother, wife, student, and teacher, however I do have an amazing and supportive husband who helps with the childcare, cooking and cleaning. The college also likes to split classes between the under and over 18s, which I found helpful.”

She added, “For those that are thinking about returning to education after quite a while, I’d say just do it. Feel the fear and do it anyway. If you have a hobby that you think you’d like to turn into a career, come and have a go. I really wanted to show my kids that mummy can do something. I pushed through the mental health issues to do something for myself and my kids. ”

For those that are thinking of following in Kay’s career footsteps, but are unsure about what to do, or feel a need for a career change, why not come to a South & City College Birmingham Open Day and speak to the tutors to see what inspires you.

Take the leap into doing something you love to do, and for those worried about what support the college offers, you can find out more via our website