Jo is one of the large number of mature students who will receive degrees from the University of Worcester, and she says her background has given her a great appreciation of what it means to be graduating today.
She says: “Growing up, my educational ability was neither recognised nor encouraged.
“I was actively persuaded to leave school as quickly as I could, and although I attended college, when I got my first job, things like living expenses, marriage, children and financial worries took over, and I never really got the opportunity to focus on my career.”
Despite this though, Jo worked her way up the Early Years ladder, and was an Early Years inspector for education body OFSTED for nine years. After taking early retirement in 2010, she took the opportunity to study for the degree that she felt would open further employment doors.
Jo continues: “It wasn’t easy – being in my fifties, having a family and suffering four major bereavements during my studies – but I got there! Studying later in my life has given me an enormous feeling of accomplishment.
“I have worked all my life in order to be successful in my chosen career, however, I believe that you really do need a degree to make any progression and to be recognised as a professional.
“My studies have enabled me the luxury of gaining an in-depth understanding of theory, and how this fits in with practice. I have also developed the skills to communicate my knowledge effectively and with confidence.”
Since the completion of her studies, Jo has secured a job in the industry and has signed up to undertake further studies with the Open University.