Meet the students - Sonia and Kirsty
Mother and daughter Sonia Bell, 45, and Kirsty Larrett, 23, found themselves studying together on Wrexham Glyndŵr University’s FdA Learning and Teaching Support course after Sonia accompanied Kirsty to an open day.
“I asked mum to come along with me to an open day because I wanted to find out about the course,” said Kirsty. “I’d been working in a nursery for six years and I wanted to move into working in a school – but I was applying for jobs and not getting anywhere because I didn’t have the right qualifications.”
Sonia said: “I didn’t have any intention at all of signing up for the course as I was just there to support Kirsty, but I got talking to the course lecturers about it and realised it would be a good thing for me to do as well – so it was very much an on-the-spot decision.”
Both now work part-time at Brynteg School, Wrexham, Sonia as a teaching assistant and Kirsty as an assistant supervisor with a playgroup. They attend the university to study from 2pm-9pm every Wednesday.
“It’s been really useful studying together,” Sonia added. “Sometimes you come across concepts or theories which are difficult to get your head around but we’ve been able to bounce ideas off each other and that’s helped to make taking everything in a bit easier than it might have been had we been studying alone.”
And what does the future hold for both of them?
“I’m happy doing what I’m doing,” said Sonia. “I’ve come such a long way over the last few years. I was in a dead end job in retail which I hated and then one day I ran into a friend who happened to run an after-school club. I went to help out and I loved every minute of it.
"I found it so interesting and so enjoyable and felt it was something that I should have done years ago. People worry about doing a degree when they’re older but I’m 45 and my advice would be to just do it – you are never too old to change your life and you are the only person that can do anything about it.”
And for Kirsty?
“I’m just hoping to become more confident in my job and progress from there.”