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Teaching Bursary helps Catriona pursue career change


A former architect has explained how access to a teaching bursary has allowed her to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher.

Catriona Macdonald had 10 years’ experience working in Glasgow and had spent the last six years tutoring one day a week at Strathclyde University when she decided she needed a change.

Catriona, from North Uist, realised that although she enjoyed her job, her favourite part of the week was the day she was tutoring.

She said “Although I enjoyed my job in terms of its creativity and creating spaces and places to improve people’s lives, I realised that tutoring was the thing I enjoyed best.

“I didn’t have to design to feel fulfilled, I preferred facilitating and supporting others to do that, it just felt so much more rewarding.

Catriona Macdonald

“That got me thinking that perhaps this is something I’d like to do full-time, and that’s when I started to consider a career in teaching. I also at that time was thinking about moving back to North Uist.”

Catriona decided to study for the Postgraduate Diploma of Education (PGDE) primary course in Gaelic medium. Studying full-time also meant giving up her job, something that was a daunting prospect. She then heard about the Teaching Bursary through a family friend, and she applied to help support her throughout her year of study.

Opened to new applicants in from 25 June 2024 by Skills Development Scotland (SDS), the £20,000 bursary is available for career changers in the new academic year whilst studying for a PGDE in Maths, Computing Science, Technological Education, Physics, Chemistry, Home Economics, Gaelic and Modern Languages.

Catriona said “I heard about the bursary through word of mouth. I had to think about how I’d support myself through the one-year course. I was sent a link to the information and saw that it covered those looking to study the Gaelic medium, so I decided to apply. The application process for the bursary was pretty straightforward.

The bursary was definitely a deciding factor in my decision to undertake the course. I’m not sure how I’d have managed the year without it, I’m really grateful it was available to me.

Catriona Macdonald

Catriona has completed her year of study and is looking forward to starting her probationary year teaching in a primary school in her local area. She says “Having lived in Glasgow for the last 15 years, I haven’t used Gaelic very often! So I’m looking forward to using it again in my new career.”

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