(Awduresau Cymru Publishing)
My Working Life
Education & Employment
A potted summary of my education ...
I went to school in Bridgend - Litchard Primary to start with, then Bridgend Girls Grammar. I have fond memories of both, and some friends I made there are friends still. After sitting my A level exams, I went to the Teacher Training College in Barry where I studied Education, Maths & Biology and gained a Certificate in Education. Later I undertook an undergraduate course with the Open University, specialising in Education & the teaching & learning of Maths, gaining my BA. I later became an Associate Tutor with the OU, teaching introductory Maths, and recently I studied an OU course in Creative Writing.
Life in Further Education
After having 3 of my daughters, I began as a lecturer at Afan College (then Port Talbot College of Further Education/Margam Tech, now part of Neath Port Talbot College). I worked there for 28 years, teaching Biology & Maths, and eventually becoming a Director of Study for adult & part-time education. I set up a number of outreach centres in and around Port Talbot, providing basic literacy and numeracy to adults in the community.
During this time, I started up Porthcawl College, of which I was very proud. This was the biggest outreach centre by far. It got caught up in local politics as we were technically on Bridgend College's patch, but it was resolved by the two colleges working in collaboration. This was a wonderful time, very exiting. I had fantastic staff to work with, and I will always be grateful to my senior managers - Principal Tony Halsall and Vice Principal David Finch - for the support they gave me.
Porthcawl College gave many local people the first step back into education and it was worth every moment I spent there - in the early days acting as caretaker and cleaner too!
Sadly things were changing in FE, and the College was no longer seen as viable. A loss to the town in my view!
A great asset to the town
My first steps into commerce ...
While still working at Afan College, I opened my first shop. A Dollshouse Shop. Three of my daughters ran it during the week - two of them after school - and I worked there at weekends. It didn't seem like work, I enjoyed it so much. Then, with my eldest daughter and my sister, I opened a second shop - selling baby goods. A bad business move - customers would come in to see our range of prams, have all the demonstrations, then go off and order online. But again, we had great fun!
Working for an MP
Having been the election agent for Madeleine Moon MP in 2005, I went on to set up, then run, her constituency office in Bridgend. I had wonderful colleagues, and enjoyed the occasional training day in the House of commons.
The first weeks and months after the election were crazy - we ran the office from my dining room. My postman was kept pretty busy!
Becoming a Landlady
Our house was large - and expensive to run! Most of our daughters had left home, and I had plenty of space, so in 2006 I opened a B&B business there. I did this, on and off, for over 10 years. It wasn't a big guest house, but I made an effort to provide as good a service as anywhere. The sheets were Egyptian cotton, the dining room and bedrooms were equipped with everything the guests could wish for, and my full-English breakfasts were second to none.
Having strangers in the house was something I never really got used to, and I didn't sleep much at night, preferring to sit in my lounge, listening out for a key in the door. But we had very few problems from guests, and some would return year after year. We were booked up years in advance for the Elvis festival, and saw some sights that would make your hair curl!
Back to FE
In 2012, I was fortunate enough to be offered a position at Bridgend College, managing adult education once more. I met some lovely people and had fantastic support from my team. It was good to be back in the world I had known for so long, and I spent 3 happy years there, until I felt it was time for me to move on.
And all this time ...
For much of the time between 2006 and 2016, I continued to run my B&B, during holidays and at weekends throughout the summer season. I also undertook private Maths tuition to young people. It was a busy time!