I Know Suzanne now for over ten years now. I met her when she was a single mother of three young children not able to get suitable work because of child care responsibilities and lack of opportunities locally. During the bit of time she was able to make while her children were in school she volunteered with CAB. In our conversations, as a family friend, she always seemed a very intelligent woman to me. However, that did not naturally translate into confidence. In one of our conversations an idea came up that she should do an access to Higher Education course with the Open University while doing her volunteering. She chose to do something on IT because she was interested in that. This was a helpful move for both CAB and her personal development as her confidence grew.
Sue then successfully finished her course at OU, made a major contribution in setting up IT systems in CAB as a result of this, and went on to apply for a Bsc at the University of Lincoln. She graduated with a first class honours about two years ago, now works as an IT project manager for the NHS and aspiring to proceed to a part time masters degree in software engineering.
Her story, is not just a resume of what an ordinary rural woman can do. The significance, to me, is that because of her resilience, a life which seemed as if it would be condemned to benefit reliance and poverty became one full of satisfaction and aspirations within the space of three years. That is education and social mobility.