Sunday, 16 December 2012

Education for everyone!

Let's get back to basics again, shall we?  Today, unless you have an extremely business minded brain, you're born into it, you have exceptional talent in your chosen field or you strike it lucky (or all four at once), to get anywhere in this world, you need an education. As you are growing up, you don't really think or worry about this, you have your whole life ahead of you and you're too busy coping with puberty and having a good time with your friends.  I have a university Degree and my partner has a Trade qualification, two milestones in our lives that we are both very proud.  Unlike others, we had to rely on getting qualified to boost our income potential and in this respect, we are 'Mr & Mrs One of the Masses', not extremely business minded, not born into money, talented but I wouldn't say exceptional LOL and definitely NOT lucky when it comes to money.  You already know that I believe that money isn't everything in life, BUT without it, you don't have clothes on your back, food in your belly or a roof over your head.....and that's pretty much as basic as it gets.

You know a bit about my background.  I started a combined Arts/ Law degree, didn't finish Law but did manage to finish my Bachelor of Arts.  I've had a variety of jobs over the years, some high paid, others not so high. Now that I'm at home with the kids, I'll have to go back to the drawing board when all our kids are at school and work something out then. What I really want to write about today is my very determined partner who started an apprenticeship at the age of 38!  When I look back on this, I know why he did it, I supported him with it all the way and I am so proud of his strength, will and determination to get through it, and he did.

David had enormous on the job knowledge in his area of work but no formal qualification, and this was holding him back in a big way.  He would apply for different jobs and try to branch out a little bit, would do extremely well at the interview but wouldn't get the job.......because he wasn't qualified. He became tired of having the ability, initiative and experience to do his work and do it well, but could not get the recognition because he didn't have, what he liked call it, that 'little bit of paper'.  So along came an apprenticeship that was going to take 3 years.  It meant that we had to survive on apprentice wages at our age and stage of life for a few years.  Call us crazy, I sure did!  We had a mortgage, 2 young kids and I became pregnant with our third child.  Yes, we had a lot on our plate.

I'll never say that even one day of that 3 year period was easy, we struggled every step of the way, not just financially, but mentally.  For me, I learnt pretty quickly how to feed the family and pay the bills on very little income and I was working at that stage 3 days a week and somehow we got through.  The mental stress and strain was the worst.  The mental strain of each day, having to keep on keeping on, waiting and waiting for this to be over, was enormous.  David was unbelievable.  How he managed to study and pass his exams under this stress and strain just amazes me.  But we did it because David wanted to earn more, he always wants to earn more (don't we all?) and I believed that he could do it. We both understood the importance of education- it helps you in life in so many ways.

It was also the sense of achievement that David gained from this experience that was huge.  After not getting much out of high school and going to work as soon as he could, for him, that feeling of accomplishment, knowing that he had studied and was qualified in his chosen field was fantastic.  I am very, very proud and will always remember those days with much pleasure and pain.

This isn't to say that you can't be wealthy or have a 'good life' without an education, but hey, you'd have to agree that it sure helps for most of us.  There are only a select few who come up with that multi-million dollar idea that no one else has thought of or get a break somewhere along the line. But for us, like many, we had to get the job done in the usual way, study and get the education to give us the potential for a 'better job'. 

Education also gives you knowledge and skills to help you through out your life in other ways. It broadens your mind and outlook, gives you life skills that you wouldn't otherwise have and gives you the ability to understand the world around you in a different way.  Education can take many forms, not just to study and get a 'certificate' and when used wisely, it can really compliment who and what you are. Life experience and also having the ability to 'see the big picture' and 'see outside the square' also makes you 'educated', but in terms of education that involves study, you learn the meaning of discipline and are able to appreciate a broader range of concepts.  It gives you a helping hand to achieve other goals that you might set yourself in your life.

Today, David is fully qualified and still working with the same employer that provided the apprenticeship.  He not only enjoys earning a better income, but he now has choices and options.  His qualification has opened up doors that were held firm shut before and he is pleased about that.  By the way, he is the only 'mature aged' apprentice at this employer that has started and finished the training and he has set a precedent for this.  

So in the words of the great Nelson Mandela (thanks Cath), "Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world", not just planet Earth, but YOUR world that you live in every day :) xxx