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14th April 2020

Mature student, Mandy Billington is a self-employed illustrator who has been on a real journey of self-discovery. We caught up with Mandy to hear all about life after Higher Education at NSCG....

Q: Tell us about how you came to study at NSCG.

I never did very well at school, I was easily distracted! I was also in care as a young child and my life was very disruptive. Later in life with a thirst for education, I studied various further education courses and eventually, I was able to study an art based Foundation Degree. I then chose to study the BA (Hons) Creative Contemporary Practice: Design Craft which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I currently have one year left of my Masters Degree in Ceramics left to complete.

Q: Why did you choose to study at NSCG?

I really needed something to get me out of the house. I had two young children, and after five house moves and a divorce, this was the perfect time to study. I wanted to learn about the arts and meet new people. I really did not see it leading to where I am initially.

Q.How has studying Higher Education changed your life and career so far?

It has changed everything! It gave me confidence, a valuable skill set, opportunities and an enquiring mind. I now have a life purpose.

Q.We would love to hear about your career now. Can you tell us more about it?

I am a self-employed illustrator and I draw historic buildings, mainly of towns and cities in the UK. My designs are then transferred to fine bone china tableware all made here in Staffordshire. I also work part time in education.

Q.Being a parent and studying must be a challenge?

Juggling study with being a parent is a huge challenge, but a pleasurable experience overall. Being a mature student, I have more responsibility than most of my peers, but I see this as a positive to my studies. I am trying to encourage my children to find out what their passions are and to take this into their studies at 18 rather than 36!

Q.What has been your biggest reward so far?

Being recognised as a professional artist and having work on display in the Tower Bridge shop, Chester Cathedral and numerous local shops is amazing. I have been able to share my story of failure to success in public speaking which is very empowering.

Q.As a mature student, what would you say to other people in your position who are considering studying at NSCG?

On my first day at NSCG, I arrived at college and just wanted to walk back out of the door. Those first few steps and with a determination to pursue my love for art, have transformed my life for the better. Fulfil your dreams and follow your passions!

If you are inspired by Mandy's story, Click here to find out more about the entry requirements for this course.

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