Having spent years as a stay-at-home mum, Sonia Begum began work in care a few years ago. In a bid to enhance her skills, she enrolled onto the College’s Pre-Access Health course this year. Not only is the course helping her to upskill, but it has also raised her aspirations and has inspired her son to achieve more.
Sonia began her studies in April 2018, as she wanted to gain some qualifications to improve her career prospects.
“I wasn’t qualified with anything before I began working in a nursing home two years ago. I left school at 16 and started a family a year later. I was a stay-at-home mum for just over 5 years, so I decided to find work to better support my family.”
With her job being ‘just around the corner’, she is also enjoying the benefits of studying at a venue so close to home, as well as making new connections.
“I’m learning so much, and I don’t have to travel far. I also love the people that I’ve met on my learning journey here at Hawbush. I enjoy interacting with different characters, and being in a new environment that allows me to expand my network.”
Her studies are also having a positive effect on her three children, particularly her youngest son, who’s 7-years-old.
“My studies include homework. So when I’ve got my laptop and paperwork out, they’re around me and asking, “Mom, what’s this?”
I not only explain to them what I’m doing, but I’m going over the question aloud and research it. So they – particularly my youngest – are learning with me.”
Describing her studies to her youngest is having an amazing effect on him at school.
“During Show and Tell, my son talked about what he’s learnt with me. He told his class what carbohydrates and sugars are, what he knows about the cardiovascular system, as well as what our lungs do.
The teachers are amazed. He’s received a privileged card from the headteacher for what he’s learnt so far. He was really chuffed about that, and the teacher said to me, “Whatever you’re doing, keep it up because he’s doing really well at school.”
Sonia’s son now looks up to her as a role model. Not only is she bettering herself, but her experiences that have shone a light on how important education is.
“He’s asked me what I’m going to be. I’ve told him that I’m going to university, that I’ll be getting a better job, so I can earn more money than I am now. And with more money, we’ll be able to do more nice things like visiting certain places and attractions.
He said to me that he wants to go to university as well.”
“I’ve told him that he’s not going to have these things if he doesn’t study and work hard. Education is really important. I know that because I’ve been through it myself. I didn’t go to college because I had children really early, so education had to be put on hold.
Even at school, I didn’t learn much as I chose to hang out with my friends and talk to them in class. Having gone through that, it’s vital for me to teach them how important school is and that sometimes, you have to put friends aside to learn.”
As Sonia had explained to her son, she now has her sights set on university.
“For me to say “I’ve got a degree” is a big thing for me. When I get my degree, I won’t stop there. I will carry on growing and will do the next step after that, meet the criteria and then take it from there…”
Walsall College’s Hawbush and Whitehall Campuses hold a wide range of courses for adult learners, including Construction, Health and Social Care, Beauty therapy, Business and Accounting, Catering and Hospitality, Horticulture, Teaching and Learning, Computing and ICT, Maths and English, Supported Learning, Childcare and ESOL and Languages.
For more information about enrolling on a course at Walsall College, please call 01922 657000.