A special educational needs teaching assistant from Cardiff says going back to education later in life has helped her to change her story.
After agreeing to an arranged marriage at 18, Aqsa Ahmed-Hussein became disconnected from education. By 28, she had lost her confidence and her sense of individual identity, feeling she had become ‘just a mum’, giving all her time and energy to her household. Her mental and physical health began to suffer. So when her fourth child was due to start school, she knew it was time to get into work and update her skills.
She headed down to her local job centre, where Aqsa was given information on courses available in her area along with support to access childcare while she studied. She began by taking a computer course, so that she could better help her children with their homework. As she re-discovered a love of learning, one course led to another, and Aqsa eventually qualified as a teaching assistant.
Now 42, Aqsa has a career in primary education that she loves. She works full-time as a one-to-one classroom assistant at Kitchener Primary school and recently completed specialist courses funded by her employer in Classroom Management and Introduction to Autism.
Thanks to the confidence she gained through adult learning, she has also recently applied for, and successful secured, an appointment as the Link Governor for Equality and Diversity at her daughter’s primary school.
She said: “I’m so proud of how far I’ve come, and I love that I can be an inspiration for my daughters. Now, I’m really looking forward to getting my teeth into my new role as a Governor as I’m passionate about making sure every opportunity is accessible.
“Adult learning has shown me that you never know what you can achieve until you try, and I always remind others that ‘advice is free’, so you may as well ask around if you want to change direction or get back into work.”
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