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Miriam’s success story set to inspire other part-time learning journeys

29 Aug 2023
Miriam Markie

A MIDDLESBROUGH College student has urged others to follow in her footsteps and ‘pursue your dreams’ after a part-time course led to her developing a whole new career.

Miriam Markie started off doing a part-time childcare course at the College as part of her work as a childminder.

After catching the learning bug, she went on to successfully study for a BA degree, then a Master’s degree and is now in the process of training to become a lecturer in childcare so she can pass on her skills and experience to others.

Miriam, who is originally from South Shields but has lived in Middlesbrough for the past 20 years, says her learning journey demonstrates how part-time adult education courses can open up a new world of possibilities.

“I’d been a childminder for about a year and I had to do a Level 3 Childcare and Education course as part of my job,” she recalled.

“I was really worried about going back to college as I was in my 40s and I hadn’t done any kind of study since my A-levels when I was 18.

“It was initially pretty daunting going back and being on a course with a lot of people younger than myself, but Middlesbrough College was great, so were all the younger students and I found that I really enjoyed it.

“When I finished that course, my tutor told me that if I’d been graded on it, I would have got a Distinction. That gave me a lot of confidence so I decided I would go on to do a BA degree in Education at the College, studying part-time while I continued in my job.

“I really enjoyed that as well, although it was hard work, and my tutor pushed me to do a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Studies, saying that they could see me as a professional tutor.”

Miriam said that the supportive and encouraging environment provided at Middlesbrough College had been crucial in her learning journey.

She explained: “It feels like a family there and it really gave me so much confidence and that’s why I’m going back there to study for a PGCE so I can pass on my skills and experience to other students.”

Miriam’s inspiring efforts saw her named as Class Valedictorian when she graduated with her BA from Middlesbrough in 2021.

“I really didn’t expect it at all so it was a fantastic surprise,” she said.

The 51-year-old mum starts her PGCE course in September and is now encouraging others to embark on their own learning journeys.

“My advice to other people would be: follow your dreams. Regardless of your age or where you’re starting from, you can really make a difference to your life.”

Childcare is just one of a wide range of adult education courses at Middlesbrough College which can studied on a part-time, flexible basis.

Courses available include early years practitioner, teaching assistant, principles of special educational needs, mental health, counselling skills, adult care and safeguarding.

The College also offers a range of business and professional part-time courses to improve your CV and give you the essential knowledge and skills to be successful in business.  

Many of these courses are free – for example, if students do not hold a Level 2 (GCSE or equivalent) or Level 3 (A-levels, BTEC or equivalent) qualification and they are aged 19-23, the course can be studied for free.

If students are aged 24 and over and do not have a full Level 3 qualification, they can also study for free. If they are aged 19 and over and have a Level 3 qualification, but they are currently either unemployed and on benefits or employed and earning less than £27,040 per year, they can also study a full Level 3 qualification for free.

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