‘Returning to college is the best decision I’ve ever made…’
It was only after becoming a mother that Lauren Newbold realised what she truly wanted to do as a career.
The 39-year-old, who moved to Telford in 2008, enrolled on a level two supporting teaching and learning course at Telford College – and hasn’t looked back. After completing a placement at St Georges Church of England Primary School in Telford as part of her studies, the school has now taken her on as a part-time teaching assistant.
Lauren, originally from Fairbourne in north Wales, had been working in the housing sector for 12 years, but said the birth of her daughter Poppy in 2015 re-ignited a passion for working with children. She said: “My whole outlook on working with children, and the desire to make a difference to them, changed.
“I had taken a GNVQ and NVQ in childcare when I was at secondary school and college, and always knew I wanted to work with children in some form of education. But college wasn’t for me back then, and I opted for paid work. “Now, as a mature student, it is different. I can honestly say that enrolling at Telford College to do the teaching assistant course is the best decision I’ve ever made.
“It opened up so many doors for me within such a short space of time, and has given me the boost and encouragement to go further in my career. “I’m already awaiting the details of the higher level of teaching assistant qualification, and after that . . . well, I’m just going to keep going and see where it takes me.”
Lauren added: “My favourite part about returning to college was the feeling of doing something for myself – it was my time to do so. “Meeting all the other students was another highlight – although I was older enough to be some of their mothers! I will remain good friends with several of them due to the relationships forged on the course.
“Having a great tutor in Jackie Clewley, and support from fellow students certainly helped my journey. Making friends was really easy, as we were all in the same boat – there to learn. By the end of the enrolment day I had already made friends.” Lauren’s advice to anyone else thinking of going back to college to learn new skills is: “If I can do it, anyone can!
“I really didn’t think I’d stick it out having a young daughter, working and running a home. But the more I got into it, the more I enjoyed it, and it really has paid off in a big way for me. “I was fortunate enough to secure my college placement at the school my daughter attends. I couldn’t believe my luck when I had the phone call to say I had got a job there, after what was a nerve-wracking interview.”
Sarah Foxley, assistant head at St Georges Church of England Primary School, said: “Lauren proved to be an excellent student right from the start. “She had a very smiley persona which fitted in perfectly with our ethos. I was particularly impressed with how quickly Lauren formed very positive relationships with the children and with the staff.
“During her placement, a teaching assistant position became available, which Lauren applied for. She has fitted in beautifully to our way of working – friendly, helpful, positive – nothing is too much trouble. We feel very lucky to have Lauren on board with us.”
Sarah Cadenne de Lannoy, learner manager for health, early years and education at Telford College, said: “We’re all so pleased for Lauren.
“Her story is an example of what can be achieved with a combination of self-belief and hard work.”