Danielle Image Danielle is a qualified beautician but has found working the long hours and weekends too much now she has a daughter of her own. “My ambition was always to be a teacher and work with children,” she told us, “and if I don’t make the move now, I’m afraid I may never do it. So when I saw the chance to gain a level 1 Teaching Assistant qualification I jumped at the chance”. In order to achieve her goal Danielle is also doing a maths qualification as she’ll need this to get into the Teacher Training colleges. “I don’t mind doing the work, because I have a goal and direction and I know and I’m doing this both for me and my daughter,” she said. “I’ve really enjoyed the TA course and loved the mix of practical and theory. It's been a great experience and I’ve learnt so much”. Danielle’s practical work, designing and making educational games children can play and learn from, has been used as both wall displays and as examples of good practice for other learners starting the TA courses. We all wish her well in achieving her goals! Mick Image Michael (Mick) left school at age 17 and joined the British Army, where he served successfully for many years. Like many of today’s veterans, Mick struggled to return to civilian life. He failed to secure employment in anything other than security work as he lacked qualifications and IT skills. Initially introduced to Wirral Ways to Recovery as a client, Mick gained new skills which lead to him training as a volunteer. Mick was instrumental in the setup of a new café which now also acts as a community hub and social supermarket, Nightingale Café, Birkenhead. He successfully completed the Food Safety Level 2 Course with Wirral Lifelong Learning and is now employed by the organisation as the Manager overseeing the day to day running of the café and supporting the staff. “The course helped me gain a recognised qualification and has increased my confidence in my abilities”. Steve Image Steve was a Wirral Borough Council Community Play Officer for just over 20 years. “In the end I was looking for a career change,” he told us. “Then through the Careers Service website I saw the opportunity to take a short taster course in Floristry at the St James Centre - it was something I’d always wanted to have a go at, so I took a chance and enrolled,” he said. “I’ve never looked back. I enjoyed the taster, went on to do the full Level 1 Award, and am going to take the Level 2,” he explained. “I’ve really been inspired by the courses and am seriously looking at setting myself up in business once I’ve finished my studies. I’d recommend this type of learning to anyone, its enjoyable, relaxing but really stretches you - and you not only learn the aesthetic skills, but the practical realities of what it’s like to work as a Florist”. Peter Image Peter told us: “Before I started the course I felt I was really computer illiterate because I’d never used one before.” “I had been employed as a mechanical engineer all my life, until ill-health (a heart attack) put a stop to all that. So I needed to change career and look towards a new start.” “I have a really good ability and interest in maths and would like to work in accounts. However, I realised that everything these days is based around computers, so I knew I needed to improve my IT skills if I was going to change career.” “Beginning my first computer course was a challenge, but now as I’ve progressed I’m really confident. There’s still a long way to go, but I’m really enjoying the courses and feel a lot more confident and able to tackle problems and find solutions myself. I’ve now written my own CV and attach it to all the job applications I make, and I feel increasingly comfortable doing the IT test papers my tutor gives me.” “To me personally these computer courses have really helped and enabled me to achieve my goal of changing career”. Sylvia Image Sylvia joined a sewing class after deciding she needed to upgrade the basic skills and techniques she already had. She’d decided to set up her own business after making a few simple items and found she could sell them to friends and family. “It was so easy to find a course once I started looking,” she told us. “All I did was go on the internet and look for Adult Sewing Classes on Wirral. These Lifelong Learning classes were ideal for me. The short (5 week) intro course was what I needed to get started, and once I’d met the tutor and found out how helpful and supportive she was, it was just natural to progress to do the full level 1 qualification.” “It has been a great help and I’m developing my skills all the time,” she explained. “I now sell things via eBay and my own website, so I’m progressing each week. My aim is to develop a well-established business that enables me to earn a living from the skills I’m learning.” “I’ve also been discussing with my tutor to do a short ‘Introduction to Enterprise’ course with Lifelong Learning to see how I can best develop and get the most out of my new business”. Vincent Image Vincent is a road crossing assistant – but had been discussing with his daughter the idea of working for himself and offering her a hand in her gardening business. His business idea was to start a Lawn Mowing service, and his daughter also thought there was demand for this type of service, but Vincent’s initial problem was that he knew next to nothing about lawns. Then he saw an advert in the local paper for an Adult Lifelong Learning course called 'Gardening for Employment'. Thinking it sounded ideal, Vincent enrolled and "I haven’t looked back since," he told us. He initially did a short workshop, which wetted his appetite and got him interested in learning again. “From that beginning the tutor told us about the ten week accredited course and the possibility to develop a personal mini research project,” he explained. “So I obviously did mine on lawns and grass. There’s so much to it – but the more I learnt, the more confident I got that my original idea is a good one. I’ve researched everything from how lawns grow and develop, their annual cycle and even how to repair and relay lawns. I never thought I could learn so much in ten weeks. The course has been invaluable".