FdA Children and Young People’s Workforce graduate Louise Zehtabi’s transition back into education was a varied and enlightening one. With a background in retail management, Louise didn’t think she would ever go on to study: “I’ve never really been an academic; I’ve always been a worker.”
After relocating from Bristol to Newquay, the mother of three focused on raising her children before stepping back into education. Eager to find a career with longevity that she would also enjoy doing, Louise chose to pursue a career in something that came naturally to her.
I’ve always wanted to work with children, and when you become a mum you’re already in the mind-set to look after them; it really changes your perspective.
Following the completion of her Access to Higher Education course, Louise was determined to gain a degree that would help her to secure a good job. Due to its broad range of content, Louise chose to study the FdA Children and Young People’s Workforce course at Truro and Penwith College, she said: “The course is child oriented but has a vast scope so you can go into lots of different areas of work at the end – I didn’t want to limit myself.”
Finding herself well suited to the routine of College life, Louise welcomed the structure that it brought to her day and the time that the condensed study week allowed her to have with her family: “Being at College only two days a week I was able to fit my study around my family.” She was even able to make time for voluntary work and spent this first year of her degree volunteering with the Girl Guide Association.
Having successfully completed the FdA Children and Young People’s Workforce course, Louise chose to complete her education with the BSc (Hons) Applied Social Science top-up year.
You only live once, and I remember thinking; if I don’t do it now, when will I? I don’t want to get older and think that I should’ve, would’ve, and could’ve…
With time still to spare between completing College work and spending time with her family, Louise carried on working at Barnardo’s as an Advocacy Volunteer to boost her career prospects and work on a one-to-one basis with children: “I deal with a lot of children at Barnardo’s who are on the wrong path. I advocate them when they find themselves in desperate situations. It can be challenging but also very rewarding; if I can help one child to have a better life then I know that I’ve succeeded.”
As a mother, Louise is eager to make a difference to the lives of the children that she meets, she especially wants to be a good role model for her own. With one hoping to be a hairdresser, the other a computer programmer and her eldest who has been a great help throughout her course, she wants to encourage them to believe in themselves.
Don’t doubt yourself; if I can do it at my age then you can definitely do it straight out of College. I think that I’ve set a good example for my children and hopefully they will be successful too.
Now that Louise has come to the end of her course she grateful for the support provided by the College: “The lecturers were really helpful and understanding, even with family emergencies. Whatever the problem, the tutors were always there to support me.”
Having developed a strong interest in probation and youth crime, Louise is hoping to pursue a career that will allow her to make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged children: “I want to use my insight and knowledge to help children who have committed crimes change their lives.”
Amazed by how far she has come, Louise feels that by completing her degree she has changed her own life too: “The course has given me a totally new purpose; it wasn’t something I ever thought that I would be capable of completing, not to mention coming out with a first class honours!”
As a mature student, Louise describes her life experience as an asset to her learning and would encourage others to follow in her footsteps. She said: “If you’re not sure about what you want to do, then choose the FdA Children and Young People’s Workforce course; there is so much scope at the end for you to follow any number of career paths. You just need to bite the bullet and do it, put your absolute best into it and enjoy every minute.”