Gardener Joanna is sowing the seeds for a bright future after choosing to study counselling at Stockton Riverside College.
The mum-of-five admits that her interest in the subject started as a fascinating way to perhaps better understand the mind-set of her children. But it didn’t take long before she was bitten by the bug.
“As soon as I got into it I knew it felt right,” she said. “Attached to that is my passion for books and learning the theory. It was the whole package for me.”
Now working towards a foundation degree Joanna, who runs her own gardening business delivering outdoor sessions for schools and young people, is exploring ways of combining what she has learned with her work.
And with her sights set on moving on to the college’s brand new BA (Hons) Therapeutic Counselling top-up year, new for September 2018, and even a Master’s, she has also developed a passion for research.
It proved a similar experience for classmate Will, who coincidentally is also a fellow gardener.
Starting his studies on a part-time level 2 course, he said: “It was just something I was trying out at first.”
Like Joanna, he found he really connected with the subject. He added: “I really don’t know why I didn’t consider it before, it is such a perfect fit for me.”
Progressing to the Access to Higher Education Counselling course and now in his second year of a foundation degree, Will has been particularly inspired by the placements, working with both secondary school children and a charity.
Planning to top-up to the full degree, he said: “It is fascinating, terrifying and exciting. I have got so much from it. This is 100% what I want to do.”