Thursday, 18 April 2013

Second Chance at Education Does Not Mean Second-Rate Education

One of our mottos at NEC is that ‘a second chance to gain a qualification can still be a first class experience’.

That’s a big part of what we do: providing opportunities for people who for whatever reason weren’t able to complete their education first time around.

Not everyone is able or motivated to study when they’re at school age. Life can get in the way and mean your priorities lie elsewhere – you may be itching to go out and start earning a living or you might simply find that learning in a classroom isn’t working for you.

Toni Pearce (photo: the Guardian)
One person who benefited greatly from being given a second chance to learn is new NUS president Toni Pearce. The 22-year-old from Cornwall ‘spectacularly failed’ in her first year at sixth form college, receiving two Us and two Ds.

As she explained in an interview with The Independent this week, Toni’s first attempt at gaining A levels was thwarted by events beyond her control – in her case, poor health.

‘I was ill and had been on some strong medication all year,’ she told the newspaper. ‘My college was incredible in letting me start the course again.

‘If I hadn’t had the opportunity, I wouldn’t be here today. I’d probably still be working as a waitress and that’s not where I wanted to be.’

Toni went on to get two As and a B and had originally intended to go on to Bath UIniversity, but instead took a year out to act as president of the Cornwall College Students’ Union. From there she was voted into the top job at the National Union of Students, becoming the first person to hold the post without having a degree.

Had it not been for Toni’s college agreeing to let her restart her A levels, she would likely be in a very different situation now. Not everyone is so fortunate, and not getting the education you want can seriously hamper your prospects in later life.

That’s where NEC comes in. For 50 years we’ve been offering learners a chance to improve their situation through education, and we have every intention of carrying on doing just that for at least 50 more.

More details on our 50th anniversary celebrations – the Future 50 project – will be revealed soon.  In the meantime, if Toni’s achievement has made you think about returning to education to improve your prospects, visit our website to browse our range of courses.

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