Hands typing on a laptop keyboard
A digital gateway

A digital gateway to work ... taking charge of your learning as an adult might suit you better than ever. Ishir's advice? 'Embrace it!'

Returning to education as an adult is a different experience for everyone. Some people never really stop learning. Others return after a break, and are pleased to discover that learning for their own reasons and at their own pace suits them better than they could ever have imagined.

A wake-up call ...

For Ishir, it was a catastrophic health event in the summer of 2020 that made him re-evaluate things. Many people can identify with a feeling of questioning their life direction during the pandemic, even without this additional shock. Ishir felt life had been passing him by, and decided it was time to take control and begin to fulfil his potential. It became his mission to get back into work while practising a healthy lifestyle - meditating, running and taking care of his diet.

Ishir had a patchy school career. There were times when he’d focused well, and times when he’d been less on task. His career path was in sales and customer services, but by 2020 he had been out of the workplace for thirteen years.

For Ishir, learning means absorbing information which has most value when it has a practical application. He realised that confidence in modern technology would stand him in good stead, and found Adult and Community Learning’s courses by Googling. He decided to enrol on an introduction to Microsoft Office course, which he felt would be a great way to update his skills, ready to apply for jobs.

One of the biggest difference about returning to learning in 2020 was that his course took place online. Ishir had never used Zoom or Teams before, and had to learn the new technology as well as interacting with new people, something which he’d become quite out of practice with in real life, never mind online! Chatting in breakout rooms definitely helped him get back into the zone. It was also a challenge learning Excel again - he found that, without using it for a while, he’d forgotten most of what he knew. However he really enjoyed the course structure, and having regular work set to do his in spare time which consolidated the skills he’d been learning in class.

Which is only the beginning

Ishir ended up enjoying the course so much he went on to enrol on 'A digital gateway to work', a course about improving your job prospects, which was ideally tailored to his situation. He learned how to present himself in a way that stood out for all the right reasons, including how to analyse a job description and adapt his personal statement to it so that he could sell himself as the ideal candidate. When job offers began to come in, he felt really encouraged.

Ishir has now been in a retail post for five months, with never a day off sick or late. Meeting new people through his IT courses helped him prepare for his busy, customer facing role. His plan is to find a sales course next, with a view to progressing in his career. Outside work he’s become a keen runner, preparing for his first 10k, and often walks with his family (National Trust properties are a favourite destination).

Ishir’s come such a long way since 2020, and this just the beginning.

What would he say to anyone considering a return to education?

‘Keep an open mind, go at your own pace, and ask for advice if you need it. Set yourself a goal, and keep that goal in mind if your motivation does dip. Embrace it!’

Find out more about Computing and Information Technology through Adult Community Learning.

Published: 28th March 2022