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Steve Levenson

“I originally studied a Level 2 Mechanical Engineering course here at City College back in 1998, but I realised I didn’t like getting my hands dirty! So after I qualified I went into the world of work and I spent 14 years at Orange.

“In 2014, I felt like it was time for a change. I have always been interested in computing so I searched for courses and I came across the level 3 at the College. Having already studied in this environment I felt confident in applying and after enrolling I attended Prep Day. This event was a chance to get a taste of the course and to meet my course mates. While I was trying out different activities I was pulled aside by one of the lecturers who told me his team thought the Foundation Degree in Software Design would be more beneficial to me, so we talked through the course and I realised this was a better option.

“I had weighed up going straight to University but I didn’t feel I would fit in as a mature student. I had been out of education for a long period of time and I was unsure whether I would cope with university-level study having only achieved my level 2. The College offered the perfect steppingstone with the foundation degree. It is also a completely different environment; it is a community, a family. Everyone was so welcoming and I always felt included. The smaller classes allow for more one-to-one time with the lecturers so you can learn from their depth and breadth of knowledge.

“Enrolling on the foundation degree was a major step for me, it was completely out of my comfort zone but the lecturers made me feel at ease. I was reassured that this was the best pathway for me and they were right, I went on to complete my final year at Plymouth University and graduated this summer.

“I used to help at the Air Cadets and enjoyed seeing them growing and learning and see their progress from knowing nothing to getting their certifications. It was so rewarding that I decided to get my teaching qualification.

“I am now studying for a PGCE and am currently on placement at the College. It’s great to return and give something back to the place that has spring-boarded my career. I got a second chance and am grateful for it. The course is hard work and full on but I’m really enjoying it and after I qualify I hope to come back and teach here at the College or on other FE or HE computing courses.

“My advice to anyone considering coming back to education would be to take that first step. It is scary to try new things especially later in life but you may just find your passion. I have actually introduced some of my friends to the higher education programme here at the College, I think this is a great and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.”