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Mum who nurtures lifelong learning

Sheila MacGregor is an ideal ambassador for lifelong learning. The mother of three began her own career with help from Angus College.

"I was a trained nursery nurse and left to bring up my children," she says. "Then when they were at school, I went to work at the playgroup. When I hit 40, I wanted to do something else, so I went back to Angus College. I was the first student when they opened the new Montrose Learning Centre, and my sister and I did our NC office administration."

Sheila, 53, went on to complete an HNC, but had to withdraw from her HND course when her husband took ill and died 10 years ago. A year later, she got a part-time job in Forfar Learning Centre and they put her through her HND in business administration. "Then the Forfar Learning Centre moved to new premises and I was the full-time administrator there," she says. "Now I am full-time administrator at Brechin Learning Centre."

"I am at a totally different point from 10 years ago. I would never have dreamt that I would be doing a job like this. I thought I'd be looking after children for ever. So from going to the open day at the college to see what was available, I came out having enrolled on an NC course and now I am here running the centre," she says with a smile.

But Sheila hasn't confined herself to work-related studies. She has taken advantage of the more practical leisure courses, which she hopes will soon be on offer here. "I did a course in Arbroath and made a fantastic garden bench after learning simple carpentry, and a wallpaper-hanging course. It's basic skills, but useful for people like me on my own, widowed, who relied on their husband to do things.

"I was the one who put glue on the paper - that was as far as my skills went. Now I paint and decorate - it's fantastic to give people confidence to do things like that in their own home."

Sheila's success story helps her promote the centre's work, and she's encouraging others to come in for coffee and a chat to hear what they are interested in, so courses can be tailored to meet local needs.

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