Helen Irwin

Centre for Lifelong Learning student

Helen first learned about the range of classes available at CLL through a seminar at the Mitchell Library as part of the 'Aye Write' festival. She went on to complete a 6-week Creative Writing class as part of the Summer Programme, as well as the 'Living the Life you Love' 4-week course - all about creating positive changes and exploring possibilities. This inspired her to complete a 6 month intensive COSCA Counselling Skills course at CLL. Find out more below on her experience as an adult learner and what she plans to take on next!

Were you previously aware of the opportunities that the University of Strathclyde offered for older adults?

No, not really. I had heard of a few people doing some art classes at the University but I had always assumed you had to be really good at something to be able to do a class in it. 

I was slightly intimidated by the prospect of studying at a University but the seminar really opened up a whole new world of learning for me. 

What did you enjoy the most about the courses you completed?

The creative writing and life coaching classes were great and really reignited my interest in learning. In the Counselling course there were a whole range of students of different ages in the class which I really enjoyed - I was probably the oldest in the class but the interaction was great and we all formed a real bond. I felt like my life experience and opinions were really valued in the class. I really enjoyed the social aspect but I also feel like I really learned from the course. I have never been to college or University. I had some counselling experience in the past through my involvement with the Church, and now I feel like I can really put it to practical use. I also feel like the skills I have learned from the counselling course have really made me think about how I interact with friends and family in my personal relationships too. 

What advice would you give to anyone considering a course at the University?

I would say go for it! Have the courage to face your fears and take on a new challenge. I would say particularly for older people - remember we all have something to offer, regardless of age. I was able to share my life experience through the courses I have done and it has definitely helped me to become more confident.

What do you plan to do next with the skills you have developed?

I will definitely continue to use the skills I have developed in counselling through my volunteer work. I also run a small life coach business which will definitely benefit from what I have learned. Now I know about the great range of courses available at CLL, I think I may also take a beginners art class and focus on my creative side for a while!