Written by alumni Steve Waterworth
I attended Reaseheath College from 2011-13 as a very mature student enrolled on the Level 3 Countryside Management course.
It was a big risk as I not only gave up a permanent job in the motor trade, but I had a family and mortgage to worry about so there was the extra pressure to get this right. Luckily, I have a very supportive wife and four equally enthusiastic daughters who looked forward to seeing their Dad go back to school like them.
Going back to school was a bit daunting and the thought of having to write assignments, get experience within the chosen field and get on with students from a different generation did make me wonder what I was thinking of!
Thankfully I settled into my new life and surprised myself how well I could face all the challenges, including the dreaded assignments.
My tutors were brilliant and with me being roughly the same age as some, they helped me get on with the main task of gaining my level three diploma which I did with distinction and best student award, which was a shock.
After leaving Reaseheath in 2013, I had to find a job as soon as possible which sadly is not as easy as it seems, so I had a brief spell back in the motor trade, which was not perfect, but it did pay the bills. Luckily the return to my old life only lasted six months when I was asked by my daughter’s Brownie Leader if I would be interested in applying for a job running a school farm at the high school she worked at.
Now I know you are thinking why would I take on a job looking after donkeys, pigs, sheep and goats when I had a Diploma in Countryside Management. The site also had a woodland and large area of meadow which fitted into my original plan, albeit in an urban setting. This was a blank canvas to not only develop and encourage wildlife but also a perfect setting for forest school which the school agreed to send me for further training to achieve my Level Three Forest School Leaders qualification…. more assignments!
I am now in my seventh year at the school and loving my work/ lifestyle which both myself and my family can enjoy. I get to work with so many different young people from my school and visiting groups including a special needs school next door is so rewarding. The minute I walk through the gates I am greeted by my critters and my day is never the same which is brilliant.
I get to improve young people’s lives by giving them opportunities to handle animals, make a campfire or just enjoy nature all because I took the chance to go to Reaseheath and take the risk which paid off. I have Reaseheath, my tutors and of course those youngsters, who not only were my classmates but ended up being friends who I am still in touch with, to thank for all I have achieved. I loved every minute being a mature student and cannot wait to visit again.