Ok, so now you know the back story, here’s the story of NOW. With a bit more backstory.
In June of 2007, I was on one of those courses the JobCentre put you on, sitting in a room for seven hours a day, 26 weeks long, searching for jobs using their newspapers and internet access. We were also meant to do interview technique and CV writing classes, but I already had a CV and some GCSEs, so they deemed me intelligent enough to just ‘get on with it’. I was desperate to get out, so I started looking at University courses. I enquired about a Stage Management degree at Wimbledon, as I had done Technical Theatre at college, and even had an interview set up. I ended up cancelling though, as it was too far to travel too, and we decided that London was just a bit far to move to.
In January 2008, I saw an advert in the local paper that said there were courses starting in the January. It was a very small article, at the very bottom of the page, maybe five or so lines. I had to sign on at the JobCentre, so I used their phones to enquire. They said I could apply through the website, instead of going through UCAS and their clearing or January signup procedure. So I went to the library and used their computers to fill in and print off the applications, and I then hand delivered them to the admin building, as this would speed up the process. I did the interview with the tutor about a week later, and was fully sorted in a fortnight, other than my student loan.
It was fun at the start, but the tutors were terrible. There was no instruction, limited facilities for which priority was ALWAYS given to third year students, and the teachers always marked based on their opinion. Hence the leaving. And you know how it went down from there.
Last week, I was considering going back into the Adult Education Service in Wolverhampton to study another language at beginner level, as I had done last year. Then, at the start of this week, on Bank Holiday Monday, I remembered hearing about the part time tuition fee loans. After a quick Google, and seeing many links to and from.news articles and the Open University, I tried calling the OU. But of course, they were shut. So I went on the SayNoTo0870 website to find a regional number for the Student Loans Company, herein called Student Finance England. It appears they changed their name. After a very short wait, about five minites, I got to talk to a woman who was actually NICE and HELPFUL. A rarity. She checked my account, asked a few questions, and confirmed I was INDEED eligible.
So I went on the Open University website and started my registration that night. It is now Sunday morning, and I am registered, enrolled on the first module and my course material has supposedly already been dispatched! All I have to do is apply for the tuition fee loans. I gave Student Finance England (SFE) my Customer Reference Number (CRN), as I imagine it will not have changed, and so I am due to start in October!