Our Stories

Embracing learning in all seasons

Student at 53, well 53 and a half, does the half count ? no not really, but I thought I would add it in as I am a bit OCD.

Hmmm did I say a bit well okay a lot.

Our Stories

Mrs S Elie MBE

Student at 53, well 53 and a half, does the half count ? no not really, but I thought I would add it in as I am a bit OCD.

Hmmm did I say a bit well okay a lot.

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I was born in 1970, so I grew up in the eighties and the idea of going to university was not something that was even a thing, well unless your parents were wealthy or you were a genius on the mensa scale.

Trust me I do not come from a wealthy background and mensa nope, not at all; so it was work for me.

I remember going to the ‘okay so what happens after your exams meeting’ at my senior school. I can see myself sitting in the hall with my parents and my nice curly perm (remember it was the eighties) and being told that 90% of us would go into jobs and only 10% into university, which by the way had changed completely by the time I sat in the very same meeting many, many years later for my eldest daughter at her school. By then it had changed to 90% to university and 10% would go into work.

So out to work I went, and a succession of less than stellar jobs followed, until I got a job in accounts, which is actually quiet hysterical, well my maths teacher would have thought it was, as let’s say I was not her star pupil.

I learnt on the job, training myself first in bought ledger and secondly in credit control, which at the time I thought made me super intelligent, what did I know, but I was only 20 and I continued to work in accounts learning from the ground up for a good 5 years.

Yep I am now 25, bear with me I am getting to me being 53.

I stayed off work to be a stay at home mum, following the birth of my first and second daughter, and was quiet literally driven by teletubbies back to work, seriously that programme should be put on the banned list, it certainly drove me mad.

I am now 28 I have 2 children and have started volunteering at my local church, running the Sunday school and an under-fives drop in.

Jumping ahead again so not to bore you, for those of you who are saying get to the point woman. I am now 30 and have also taken on the running of the church hall, the youth club, the Summer scheme, as well as the under-fives drop in.

What can I say I am a sucker for punishment, but no more teletubbies yippee.

Learning on the job, always listening and asking lots of questions, whilst ensuring I learnt from others, who ran other local spaces/groups/organisations was how I learnt; as I did not have lots of GCSE’s to my name and certainly no degree.

By taking this on the job learning route though I somehow felt that I was not seen the same way as other professionals at meetings. The learning on the job route seemed to be viewed as less in some way, which I now see is not entirely the case and more perhaps my perception than the reality.

I do believe though and having worked with many people across many different sectors over the past 18 years (yep I have jumped forward and I am now 53) that there is still the underlying sense that qualifications are a yard stick of ability somehow even intelligence, again maybe I am superimposing my own bias, but it is one that is borne out when I talk to others who took the same route as me so I took the plunge.

In February this year I stated a Higher Certificate in Education on Climate and Sustainability with the Open University.

I have now submitted two assignments and I am loving it, but what I love most is all that on the ground learning from others, listening, growing, evolving saw me get 85% in my first assignment. So whereas before I classed myself as passionate, but with no formal qualifications, I now know how wrong I was, and I should have had faith in myself.

So for me a new yardstick needs to be develop, with a new appreciation of life learning and hands on knowledge and hopefully anyone reading this will have more faith in themselves whatever their route/style approach to learning and embrace it.

Mrs S Elie MBE

Somers Town Community Association, 150 Ossulston Street London NW1 1EE
Registered Charity number: 292440
Company Limited by Guarantee 1903408

☎ 020 7388 608
jodie@somerstown.org.uk

Somers Town Community Association is a Charity dedicated to providing a meaningful and positive influence at every level of people’s lives.

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Somers Town Community Association, 150 Ossulston Street London NW1 1EE
Registered Charity number: 292440 Company Limited by Guarantee 1903408

☎ 020 7388 608
jodie@somerstown.org.uk

Somers Town Community Association is a Charity dedicated to providing a meaningful and positive influence at every level of people’s lives.

NewslettersDonate