Skip course menu sidebar

Find a course

A-Z Undergraduate courses A-Z Postgraduate & post-experience courses

Recently viewed

When mature student Lisa McLaren decided to return to education, she knew what she wanted to do: help young people.

Home from home

Lisa, who is originally from Belfast, gave up a career in retail management to study Community Education which includes youth work, adult education and community development.

She said: “Quite a few universities offered the course, but I liked the feel of UWS. The west of Scotland is so like Belfast – even the weather – that I immediately felt right at home here.

“I’d wanted to work within communities and specifically with young people for a long time, but I didn’t want to teach in the formal, classroom sense, and Community Education is quite different to everyday teaching.”

Group of students in discussions

Release your potential

Lisa was also impressed by her lecturers and the course content, saying: “The level of support from the teaching staff is brilliant; they are friendly, fun, and approachable. They constantly push and support you to be your best and help you realise your potential.”

As part of her studies, Lisa undertook a three-month work placement with VASLan, a youth initiative in South Lanarkshire. The programme provides mentors for young people, aged 16-25, who have been repeat offenders but want to change their lives for the better.

“Youth work is where my passion lies. The placement really taught me a lot about applying classroom theory to the practicalities of everyday work. I was giving talks in schools, and helping young people learn life skills, how to manage their mental health, and how to find accommodation."
Lisa McLaren - UWS Community Education student

A passion for people

Lisa says: “Sometimes, these young people feel as if society has given up on them, so it’s good to give them a hand up. The work is both satisfying and challenging. It takes time to build trust with these teenagers.”

A new chapter

Lisa’s work and university experiences have given her the appetite to continue her studies. She says: “I’m now thinking of applying for funding for a PhD. I wouldn’t have thought that possible when I first started."

“When I left school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Taking time out helped me focus on what was important to me. And the support of the UWS staff and tutors has been invaluable. I can’t wait to start on the next chapter of my life.”
UWS student Lisa McLaren
Last updated: 09/06/2020