After making Windsor chairs for 25 years I felt that I needed a career change. I was interested in becoming an IT trainer, and the Flexi Centre at Highbury Campus provided a good way to work towards this goal.
I already had some IT skills, but did not have the qualifications to back them up. I took the ECDL first, and then moved on to the ITQ Level 2. A little later I completed a PTLLS teaching qualification.
I’ve now returned to the Flexi Centre but in the role of a volunteer. I wanted to gain experience of teaching and Highbury offered me a work placement three days a week.
They threw me in at the deep end and over the summer I ran three short courses. I have also been helping people with their CVs and providing support for students. Recently I produced a workbook for a new course – not bad for someone who has dyslexia!
I lost my job in electronic assembly in 2009. I was 44 years old and decided that my best chance of getting another job was to retrain.
I visited the IT Flexi Centre in March 2009 and the staff were really helpful in talking through my options.
I began with some basic introductions to Computing, and was soon studying the ITQ Level 1 course. I really enjoyed this and quickly moved on to the ECDL and ITQ Level 2. I’m now working my way through the Level 3 ITQ units.
The Flexi Centre is great because I can study when I have the time. I also know that I could accept a part-time job if one came up and continue with my studies.
The social side is also good. Working here gets me out of the house and I’m beginning to help other people at the Centre with their own courses.
I came to Highbury in 2008 because I wanted to learn how to use email so I could stay in touch with my friends and family in Japan. I also felt that I needed to keep my mind occupied, as I recently lost my husband.
I really enjoyed coming to the College’s Flexi IT Centre and worked my way through all the computing courses. I also liked the art courses, including one on creating a greetings card. Gradually I got better and better at computing and completed ITQ1 Word. Now I’m studying for ITQ1 Artwork and Images.
Studying at Highbury has made a real difference to my life. I can send emails to my family and friends. While studying at Highbury I remembered that I learnt how to type correctly when I was young. All those skills are very useful now and I have increased my speed and accuracy on the keyboard.
I am also gradually regaining my confidence and that helps me to communicate better with other people. I have enjoyed studying at the Flexi Centre, but I also like the sociable aspect of attending the College. I feel safe and secure at Highbury and always look forward to coming to the computer suite. I plan to keep in touch with the good friends I have made here.
It is early days, but I hope to use the skills I have learned at Highbury to do some charity work in the future.
When I first started at the IT Flexi Centre at Highbury City of Portsmouth Centre in 2005 I was worried that I didn't know anything about computers. I also didn’t think my English would be good enough.
I needn't have worried because the staff were really friendly and helpful. They guided me through the courses I took and helped me with words and phrases I didn't understand.
I have enjoyed taking the computer courses the College offers. I completed the CLAIT course in two months and the ECDL course in five months. Since then I have completed ITQ Level 2, passed all Microsoft Office Specialist courses and a Web Design course to advanced level.
My confidence with computers increased so much that I studied IT Essentials 1 and 2. I am now qualified as a Cisco Certified Network Associate.
In 2009 I was employed full time as a Learning Support Officer at Highbury. It is very rewarding being able to help adult learners to develop their computer skills just as I was helped when I enrolled on my first basic computer course.