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‘Age is just a number’: Peterhead woman returns to education after 20 years to secure HND in childhood practice

Susie Crane with her HND

After a career dedicated to working with families and promoting health and fitness, Susie Crane has jumped back into her studies to secure a HND in childhood practice.

Having spent the past 20 years working with families with young children, and work in schools promoting health and fitness, Ms Crane was the oldest person on her course when she enrolled at North East Scotland College (NESCol).

She said: “It all began with fitness classes I ran for children when I had a young family of my own. Since then I’ve held positions within Aberdeenshire Council as a Health and Fitness coordinator and worked for Active Schools as well as working for myself offering fitness classes within schools for children of all abilities and those with additional support needs.”

After the pandemic hit, she received a “wake-up call” which prompted her to add the necessary professional qualifications to her years of experience.

She added: “It made me think about what I wanted and I realised I wanted more security and to be part of an organisation. I had the life experience but not the right professional qualifications.

“To open the door to the big opportunities as an early years practitioner I knew had to gain HNC Childhood Practice and then a degree – that’s when I applied to college.”

IT was a struggle but grew her confidence

While on the course, she had initially found IT challenging, but with the help of her class and lecturers, her confidence began to grow.

She added: “After the initial panic I began to master the basics. Once you get a few wins under your belt it becomes easier and enjoyable.

“My class were great – I was the oldest – it didn’t matter, I wasn’t treated any differently.

“Due to the pandemic my course was taught online so I got to know my class and lecturers through Microsoft teams and WhatsApp groups. I found that online study suited me – I had the discipline and because I was still working I could make it all fit.

“A lot of the learning was very relevant to my past roles. It’s helped me join up all the dots – underpinned my experience to date. I just want to take the opportunity to thank my classmates and lecturers – I was made to feel so welcome.”

During her time she was also the successful recipient of the Rotary Club of Fraserburgh Endeavour Award announced at NESCol’s virtual Graduation Ceremony for Fraserburgh Campus.

The award recognises the achievement of an individual who has gone above and beyond in the course of their studies, overcoming challenges to get to where they are today

Having successfully gained her HNC, she has now gone straight into Year 2 of Child and Youth Studies BA (Hons) at University of the Highlands and Islands.

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