Returning to Education at 40: Raheila’s Story

Raheila Koser

Raheila Koser is an inspirational student and role model. A mother of 5 who had been out of education for 20 years, she has recently completed her PGCE teacher training at University Campus Oldham and become an advocate for social change within Oldham.

We talked to her about why returning to education was so important to her

“After finishing university all those years ago, I went straight into a job in housing. I really wanted to do my teacher-training, but my personal circumstances at the time meant that I couldn’t continue in education. 10 years later, my mothered suffered a severe stroke which meant I became her full-time carer and a stay at home mum.

As I approached my 40th birthday, I started thinking about the qualification again. My children were growing up and I wanted to inspire them with my actions, instead of just words. As parents, we are the primary role models for our children and if our children witness us pursuing education then they will be inspired by us and more likely to follow.”

Why did you choose University Campus Oldham and what challenges did you face?
“I chose University Campus Oldham because it was local and they offered a part-time option with a work placement. It meant that I could juggle my caring responsibilities with studying, but also that I got to practice what I had learned in the classroom.

“I really struggled with the IT aspect of studying, especially during the pandemic, but UCO has really good support systems in place that allowed me to overcome that barrier.
“I was also worried about paying for the course at first, but I took out a loan from the Student Loans Company, which I don’t have to pay back until I’m earning a certain amount.”

Did you enjoy the course?
“I really enjoyed my programme and got on well with my tutor. Every time I submitted an assignment it was such a wonderful feeling. You feel on top of the world, like Superwoman and you’re ready for the next one. It’s like come on, bring it on!

“It’s completely changed my life and how I feel about myself. Completing the course has raised my self-esteem and allowed me to grow both professionally and personally.

“My advice to adult learners is just go for it, don’t let any anxiety or worry hold you back.”

What next?
“I’m currently volunteering at the school that I did my placement at. There are jobs there so there’s plenty of opportunity for me!

“I knew I wanted to work within education as a sector because I have always believed that education is a vehicle for positive social change in the communities we live in. When I was growing up, there weren’t many women in my community who were well-educated and I want to show women in circumstances similar to my own that they can do it, too. That’s why I joined social action group Parent Power Oldham, trying to create social change by mentoring women, speaking at events, taking part in podcasts and blogging.”

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