Adult learner is back in business

Mature student and mum of two, Kali Popely, felt at a crossroads when deciding whether to continue with a job which didn’t offer much progression or take the jump back into education.

Motivated by the thought of creating a better life for herself and her children, Kali embarked on a new path and began her Access to Business Higher Education Diploma Level 3 course.

Transition back into education

Although returning to education seemed daunting as a mature learner, Kali was pleasantly surprised by the calibre of adult courses at Leeds City College. 

“It gave me confidence to see how valued adult learners were at the college, with dedicated courses, support and information for them. It was clear that mature students were treated just as any other student, therefore making the prospect of returning to learning less intimidating.

“I was concerned about being the oldest in my class, meaning I might struggle to fit in with my peers. However, I was so relieved to see a wide age range of students who were all incredibly friendly and welcoming.”

Choosing a course

Determined to study at a higher level, Kali chose the Access course so that after studying for one year, she will have the qualifications to apply to university.

“Prior to returning to education, I didn’t have any A level or equivalent qualifications, so I thought I would need to study for at least two years to gain the correct qualifications for university. 

“I was so pleased to discover the Access course; it gives people like myself an opportunity to overcome learning obstacles and opens up higher education opportunities. 

“I have been interested in business for years and I was always keen to learn more. I’ve gained knowledge on an incredibly varied range of topics, such as international trade, finance and marketing, all of which will help me during my time at university and in future job roles.

“During my time at college, I’ve had the opportunity to work with other students to help develop my social, teamwork, leadership and communication skills.”

Overcoming obstacles

It isn’t easy juggling family life, work and studying, but with the support of her family and college, Kali stayed motivated throughout.

“Balancing two children under five as a single parent whilst working and learning at college can be a real challenge. However, the incentive to create a better life for myself and my children is what keeps me motivated. 

“Although managing childcare and finances is a huge barrier to overcome, the support from college has been invaluable; tutors and pastoral care staff are always on hand to help and give advice.

“When I first started college, I didn’t feel confident about the work I had submitted and had little faith in myself. My attitude completely changed when I started to get positive feedback for assignments; my confidence skyrocketed and gave me the boost to work harder to improve on every piece of work.”

What’s next?

Kali has recently applied for university and has received five offers. 

“I hope to study Hospitality Management at Leeds Beckett University; they’ve got an amazing reputation for hospitality courses. One day, I would love to open up my own business in the industry.

“The Access course has been the ultimate stepping stone for me to pursue a career that I’m thoroughly excited about.”

Discover more about the Access course here.

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