ADULTS successfully sitting GCSEs in Warwickshire have been inspired to make major career changes.
Two learners, in their late 30s and 40s, who sat English and maths GCSEs are planning a leap between two very different working roles.
Among them is Duncan Cooper who is planning a career change from recruitment to medicine after passing GCSE English, aged 39.
The Shipston resident left school two decades ago with poor exam results, but eventually found his way into recruitment, setting up his own agency.
He sold his firm in 2017 to care for his elderly parents.
Now the former businessman has decided to begin a new chapter in his working life, and last year enrolled at Leamington College to begin his study in medicine.
Duncan achieved a Level 9 grade – the equivalent of an A* – and will begin a GCSE maths course in September.
He said: “I’d been predicted the top grade, so it’s a good feeling to have that confirmed.
“School felt such a long time ago for me, so it was quite daunting, and a bit weird if I’m honest, to be going back to college at this stage of my life, but it’s been one of the best experiences of my life.
“I started with English because it was always my thing but for various reasons school didn’t end well for me and I didn’t even sit the English exam back then.
“There was a real mix of people in my class and our tutor James Marsh was so supportive and encouraging, as was everyone at the college. Maths will be more of a challenge, but I’m still looking forward to it and I’d definitely recommend this kind of upskilling to anyone who is considering it.”
Meanwhile, Leamington resident Peri Lazzara passed GCSE English and maths.
The 49-year-old celebrated after passing with the equivalents of a grade A for English and a B and C in maths.
The mum-of-two was back on familiar territory at Leamington College – where she completed a course in hairdressing after leaving school.
After spending most of her working life in the care sector, she is pursuing a midwifery course with a view to completing a degree in the area.
She explained: “I wasn’t particularly good at school but I’ve gone through my life feeling like not having English and maths was hanging over me. I suppose it has held me back in some respects, but it never occurred to me to it at this stage of my life.
“My first enquiry to the college was a spur of the moment thing really, but as soon I made the call, I felt they really encouraged me to see it through.
“The college was a familiar place for me from when I studied hairdressing, but I was still really scared before my first lesson.
“It’s been a challenge with working part-time, the lockdowns and having my own children home schooling, but I feel like it was well worth it and I can’t tell you enough how good the tutors were, I’m already recommending it to others!”