Your Education Success Stories
Family Action and Barclaycard Horizons have been providing educational grants for the last three years. The following are real stories from people we have helped to achieve their goal of furthering their education.
Your Education Success:
- 12,000 lone parents and their children have benefited from £1m of educational grants.
- 94% of lone parents agreed that the grant was a critical support to their studies.
- Of those who passed 45% were in training, 19% seeking employment and 27% employed.
Family Action chief executive Helen Dent CBE said: “Working with Barclaycard Horizons to deliver the Your Education programme enables us to help thousands of lone parents and their children have a brighter and more secure future. We are very happy indeed to be supporting these inspirational parents to achieve their goals.”
Elaine was thrilled when she was awarded £1370 to pay for course fees
Elaine decided to become a funeral director and had been looking for funding on the internet when she discovered Horizons: Your Education.
“I left school with no qualifications, and then went back to college and university when I was thirty. I think all parents that haven’t got qualifications should be encouraged to try and better themselves – but without this funding I wouldn’t have been able to do it.”
Elaine now works part time for a funeral business in preparation for her foundation course and diploma in Funeral Directing, a job which she “absolutely loves”.
“I love helping people. I see so many ill people in need, and it will be really nice to help them and motivate them to look after themselves. I’ll be able to do more for the people I take care of when I’m qualified.“
Fatima was working as a carer here when she decided to get her NVQ Level 2 in Health and Social Care so she could offer more to the people she was looking after.
"Before I was helping to do little bits of personal care,” says Fatima, “but when you’ve got the qualifications they teach you how to do manual handling and give medication, so you’re able to help more; it’s a very delicate job.”
It’s important for Fatima that she’s a strong role model for her son: “I’ll be able to have a good job, take care of my son and he’ll know that his mum is a strong woman. There’s nothing easy in this life, but if he sees me learning, trying to achieve something, it’ll motivate him too.”
“I put it off because of having the children but I wish I’d done it when I was younger. It’s been a really positive thing for my family.”
Katie, who is a mum to Elisia, six, and Elliott, three. She has begun a distance learning course to become a Chartered Accountant after being awarded £1339 from Horizons: Your Education to cover her fees.
Katie now has ambitions to become a Chartered Accountant: “I’ve been working in Accounts departments for 10 years, and I always wanted to go further in it, I’m trying to set up my own book-keeping business at the moment, and my long-term goal is to work for myself and be a chartered accountant to do people’s books and audits. Once I finish, I’ll be a fully qualified Chartered Accountant – but the more you study, the more you learn, so I might do another qualification as well.”
Katie works part-time in an accounts department, and really welcomes the flexibility that distance learning allows.
“I’d feel guilty if I didn’t spend enough time with the children, so working and studying part-time, I’m lucky really.” Her two small children have responded well to their mum studying at home. “They don’t disturb me at all, they know that I’m studying and they leave me to it! They’re so good. My little girl is only six, and she’ll sit up in her room and say ‘I’m working’.I never want them to have the blasé attitude to school that I had. My little girl goes to a theatre club on a weekend day, and I scrimped that money together to get her there - I think it’s good to have interests, to keep them focused on good things."
Katie wants to encourage other single parents to seek out education and training.
"I wouldn’t have been able to go to the Knowledge Point School without it. I was finding it a real struggle; now I don’t have to worry if there’s a book or materials that I need, which means I can concentrate on the studies."
Samantha, whose children are aged between 11 and 17, faced the all-too familiar problem of finding a job with flexible hours to enable her to be a hands-on mum and a breadwinner. But thanks to a Horizons grant, Samantha, is now studying The Knowledge – the test all drivers must pass in order to become a bonafide cabbie.
Samantha was awarded £1,495 from the Barclaycard Horizons Your Education fund, which is helping turn her dream of becoming one of the few female black cab drivers in London into reality.
Samantha said "The Horizons funding has been a godsend, we’re all going to benefit. It’s a long-term thing and such an achievement. After many years of looking after the children I’m now having a new lease of life. I’m the kids’ mum always, but I’m Sam now as well. My children can see me independent, and they can see that if I can go back and study, they can do anything, and they’ll never be able to come to me and say 'I can’t do that, it’s too hard'.
“Don’t put it off- get out there and do it.”
Tina, is taking a Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling. She has a daughter aged eight and a son aged four, as well as two grown up children. She recently received a grant of £1500.
Tina has a special personal connection to her Counselling course, as she explains: “My eldest son was diagnosed with cancer when he was eleven, and then it came back four years later; it was during that second time when he was having chemotherapy that I had a group counselling session. I really benefited from that so it made me think ‘oh, that’s something I’d really like to do,’ and it went from there really.”
“I’m doing a Level 4 diploma now, and I’ll be a fully qualified counselling practitioner. I really appreciate what Family Action was able to do, so I could continue with this course. I do Wednesday evenings and every other Saturday at college. The rest is placements, and personal counselling. I put in a lot of written work doing notes at home, and essays.”
“I’m thoroughly enjoying it- for me to be happy in what I’m doing is a help for everybody. I didn’t have any qualifications before I started this so it’s a really big thing for myself and my family.”