Katie McCafferty & Mandy Mackintosh
HNC Childhood Practice
“Starting College as a mature student was quite daunting at first but I can honestly say I’ve never looked back. ” – Katie McCafferty
“It was a lot of hard work but it genuinely just felt like it was where I was meant to be.” – Mandy Mackintosh
Celebrating together at the NESCol Aberdeen Graduation Ceremony are Katie McCafferty and Mandy Mackintosh, childhood friends who have now achieved their HNC Childhood Practice at the same time.
Katie (41) and Mandy (43) had both been working in the oil and gas industry for some time but after returning to work following the birth of their sons, felt somewhat disengaged with their respective roles. The friends had always been keen to work with children and having their own boys developed this interest further.
Katie explained: “I’d often thought about going into teaching but as I don’t have a degree knew it would take years of study. I looked into my options, discovered the HNC at NESCol and decided working in an early years setting really appealed to me.
“It was a big decision to quit my job but as I was entering my forties thought that there would never be a better time to go for it. Starting College as a mature student was quite daunting at first but I can honestly say I’ve never looked back. It was a lot of work at times juggling classes, placement and family life but I absolutely loved the course.”
Katie’s decision to take the plunge and return to education was the push that friend Mandy needed to follow suit. Mandy said: “Katie and I had often spoken about doing something different and we both love being around children. When she said she’d been accepted on the course and why didn’t I apply too, I decided to go for it! It was near the beginning of the new academic session by then so I applied on the Thursday and was on campus on the Monday.”
Like Katie, Mandy acknowledged the big change in her life was a little overwhelming to begin with but her fears were soon dispelled when she got started on the course. She said: “The lecturing team were great and the other students, although mostly younger, were lovely. It was a lot of hard work but it genuinely just felt like it was where I was meant to be.”
The friends are delighted to have achieved their qualifications and have a new focus, challenge and plentiful job opportunities available to them.
Katie said: “I’m really happy Mandy and I decided to go for it after talking about doing something different for such a long time. Coming to College together was great and we were able to support each other through the course. However, because we were in different classes, we still had our own individual experience which we’re glad we had.”
Both Katie and Mandy really enjoyed the two day per week placement they undertook as part of the course and feel it’s been hugely beneficial to them now as they now begin their careers in the sector. The graduates have found jobs already as Early Years Practitioners, Katie is working at Milltimber School nursery on a maternity cover and Mandy is working for both Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire councils as a relief practitioner covering short term absences.