Return to study helps launch Vicki's teaching career

Vicki Evans outside WGU

A return to education has paid off for a woman whose studies at Wrexham Glyndwr University are to lead her to her dream career in teaching.

Vicki Evans, from St Martins in North Shropshire, was working as a teaching assistant when her manager suggested that she should become a teacher herself – and, after studying for two degrees at Wrexham Glyndwr University, she is now hoping to secure a post teaching in further education.

She said: “I have got two children, one of who has some complex special needs as she has epilepsy, which meant I had spent several years ensuring she received the correct care.

“I basically needed a job, and thought working in a school would help – I had been working in the school at St Martins as a teaching assistant, and my line manager suggested that I could be doing more with my life and encouraged me to look at studying at university.

“He sat me down and said ‘you should be doing more – you should be teaching.’

“To do that, I needed to get the qualifications – and first of all, I needed to get a  degree – so I looked at Glyndwr, which had an online course in Childhood Studies.

“Doing that course at home, while still working at St Martins as a classroom assistant, worked really well for me.”

Once she had secured her first degree, Vicki returned to Glyndwr as a postgraduate student – and, after working in a variety of placements, decided to study to teach in Further Education by following Glyndwr’s Professional Graduate Certificate in Education in Post-Compulsory Education and Training (also known as a PGCE/PCET.)

One of the first new experiences for her on the new course was actually coming to the university to study in person. She added: “I hadn’t actually visited the university much during my first degree – my Graduation ceremony for the Childhood Studies degree was one of the few times I’d actually been in the university itself!

“It was a long journey for me, getting a degree and then coming to do my PGCE, but it’s really been worth it.”

Students on Glyndwr’s PGCE courses have to secure teaching placements as part of their studies – and Vicki managed to secure a long-term placement at North Shropshire College in Oswestry. She is now hoping to develop on the placement – and looking to secure a full-time role in further education.

Despite being concerned about returning to education in her forties, she has found the experience of studying at Glyndwr inspiring – and is keen to encourage others to see what studying could do for their career.

She added: “The first time I was at college, life took over a little bit – but getting that job in education, then starting my studies at Glyndwr, gave me the confidence to go out and do everything I’m doing now – I just feel like I want to prove something to the world.

“It’s been ace – I feel quite empowered as a result and it just goes to show people thinking about a new start that you can achieve things like this!

“The tutors have been brilliant and very supportive –both when I was studying online and now I’m coming here to Glyndwr physically. I’m quite enjoying being a proper student and hopefully I’ll be getting a dream job at the end of my studies too.”

Jo Williams, the Programme Leader for the PGCE/ PCET course, said: “Vicki was been an absolute delight to work with and I know she has a bright future ahead of her in education.

“Watching the development of students like Vicki – and seeing them build their new careers – is one of the highlights at working here at Glyndwr. Our students have gone on to thrive in all sorts of roles – and it’s always great to see!”