Studying for a better family life

Returning to the UK from overseas left a Joys Green couple struggling to find work. Qualifications weren’t recognised in this country and job-hunting was tough when experience didn’t carry much weight.

After months of disappointing searches, Kate and Richard Gulliford realised the only way to carve out a positive future for themselves and their two daughters, was to return to the classroom.

So, despite being mature students, juggling jobs and a busy family life, they enrolled on their respective degree courses and are now heading towards qualifications that will enhance their careers, increase their chances of employment and improve all their lives.

Richard is doing a two-year online MSc in International Security and Risk Management and may return to a career in teaching, while Kate is half-way towards her ambition of a degree in youth work. Meanwhile, Richard works full-time and Kate works part-time.

At the end of last year, the determined couple applied for a share of our David Garnett Bursary – designed to improve our tenants’ training and skills – and were rewarded with financial and practical help towards their goals.

“It was a shock to return to the UK and find it impossible to pick up our careers,” explained Richard. “My military and teaching background didn’t seem to count for much and I realised I had to do something different.”

Kate had lots of work experience, but found a degree was the only way to progress. “It’s hard work juggling all aspects of our lives, but we are showing our children that mum and dad are studying, and that’s a really positive message to give to them.” she said.