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17th August 2020

We caught up with Stafford College's Curriculum Manager in Early Years and Health & Social Care, Meryl Cotton, to chat all about her experiences before joining the College and her advice for anyone wanting to get into a career in care, community or education.

Q: Tell us about your experiences before joining the college.

A: I previously worked for Public Health England providing young people with health opportunities in a local area through physical exercise, healthy eating and reducing smoking projects in deprived areas.


Q: Why did you decide to get into teaching?

A: I think I have always wanted to be a teacher even from a young age – I just wasn’t sure which age group I wanted to work with until I left university and had the opportunity to work with post 16 year olds – and l loved it!


Q: What advice would you give to your 15 year old self?

A: Well, where do I start?! Not to take things so seriously and follow your dreams – there are so many opportunities out there, grab them and take your life on a journey! There is not always 1 set path for learning so don’t worry what your friends are doing, just do what is right for you.

Q: What challenges have you faced in your career and how did you overcome them?

A: Balancing a career, further studies and a family is very hard and I still don’t think I have mastered it – but the key is not to give yourself a hard time – you can only do so much. To overcome this it is important to talk to friends, family and work colleagues for help & support and set yourself realistic goals.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into Health & Social Care?

A: Go for it!! It’s an amazing area to work in, the rewards are endless. If you want to make a difference to people’s lives and come home and ‘feel wow every day is different’ then a career in Health & Social Care is definitely for you. It is challenging but look at the NHS in this pandemic – they are all fantastic at what they do – working in Health & Social Care is a vocation and all you need is a caring attitude to get you on your way.

Q: What sorts of careers have your past students gone on to have?

A: Students have gone on to all sorts, that why this area is so fantastic for students to progress into – but mainly we have students that go into, nursing (adult & children’s), midwifery, social work, mental health, psychology, paramedic science, physiotheraphy, occupational therapy and many more!

Q: What key skills does someone wanting to pursue a career in Health & Social Care need to have?

A: The 6Cs of nursing are a fantastic way to describe qualities that students need within this area – ‘care, compassion, courage, communication, commitment and competence’

Q: What’s your favourite thing about working at the College?

A: The people – my staff are fantastic and I could not wish to work with a better team – they really do go above and beyond with all the learners to ensure they have an amazing experience.

Q: What’s the most rewarding about your job?

A: For me this job is so much about variety – yes it is about students achieving their qualification, but what I really enjoy is to the see how much they develop over the years at NSCG. I love the opportunities that students have to grow by supporting charities, work experience and fundraising and it is great to see students getting involved in all aspects of college life. I also enjoy past students coming back and giving the low down on their careers within the NHS.

If you would like to find out more about studying in care, community ot education at Newcastle or Stafford College, visit: https://nscg.ac.uk/study/course-departments/care-community-education for more information.

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