Three adult learners

Adult Learners’ Week 2020 – Meet the Learners

24 June 2020

Introducing Catherine, Claire and James, our Level 3 Personal Training Learners at Usk campus, who are exercising their minds as adult learners…

Catherine Spencer runningCatherine Spencer, aged 54, has always enjoyed sport, having spent her teenage years representing Wales in archery. Over the last few years, she’s been coaching runners, but she wanted to broaden her understanding of the body and how to effectively train.

Why did you choose Coleg Gwent?

“Having previously taken part in weekend fitness courses at Usk campus, I knew that the level of teaching would be excellent and I haven’t been disappointed. The tutors are friendly and approachable, offering motivation and support. The facilities for my course are great too, including a gym to work in, and plenty of opportunities to use it to put our learning into practice.”

What are your long-term goals and how do you think college will help you achieve this?

“I now feel able to continue working with my coaching groups, with a better knowledge and understanding of what I’m doing. At 54 years old, this qualification gives me the opportunity to have flexible working hours, and I feel that my maturity and greater experience of life, on top of my qualification, makes me a more understanding and approachable fitness trainer.”

What has been your biggest achievement to date in college life?

“My biggest achievement is being chosen to represent the college at the World Skills Competition UK and making it through the heats to the semi-final. This now puts me in the top 40 new fitness trainers in the UK!”

Did you face any challenges before attending college? If so, how did the college support you?

“As a more mature learner, I was concerned that I’d feel isolated from younger class members, but the course leader put me at my ease and although I’m the eldest, there are other mature learners on my course too, which helps.”

Any advice for students wishing to study your course at Coleg Gwent?

“If you want to do it, just go for it! There’s so much support throughout the college from tutors to equipment, resources and financial support. And the course itself is a fantastic mix of class-based study and practical elements.”


Claire Gibbs at the gymClaire Gibbs, aged 40, has always been interested in sports and fitness, but after having 5 children, she ended up working as a senior carer. Claire really enjoyed body-building and learnt about exercise and nutrition through competing, which helped her decide on following a career that would help people achieve their fitness goals.

What do you like most about your course?

“I wasn’t sure about joining because of my age, but I was surprised to go in on my first day and meet the most amazing tutors and make a variety of friends from my class. I’ve enjoyed everything: the challenges, learning about nutrition and training, practical sessions etc. The staff are the best – they fully support you and go above and beyond to get you where you need to be. I also took on extra courses to further my career, including Exercise to Music, Step Exercise to Music, and Indoor Group Cycling. I really enjoyed it and the facilities are excellent.”

Why did you choose Coleg Gwent?

“During my son’s open day, I found out I could sign up for the part-time course at times and days that would fit in with my family. My other son has also done the Mechanics course with Coleg Gwent and he was so successful with his course and his career. Now, my long term goal is to start my own personal trainer business, and my next step is to gain GP referral and sports massage. I’ve already enrolled for these courses in September!”

Did you face any barriers before attending Coleg Gwent?

“I’m a carer for my autistic daughter, so I was concerned about going to college and how that would work around getting her to and from school. But the staff fully supported me throughout and I didn’t have any problems. I’m also new to using computers – I’ve had so much help with this, which is also helping me sort out my business planning.”

Any advice for students wishing to study your course at Coleg Gwent?

“Enjoy your time at the college and I definitely recommend the Usk campus if you want a career in the fitness industry. Go to the open days, meet the staff, talk to present students and find out all the advice for the courses you choose.  “


James AllenJames Allen, aged 23, was in his third year of university completing a degree in media production before he decided to pursue his passion for fitness, group exercise and personal training. He knew that Coleg Gwent teachers are experts within their field, so he’d be in great hands to mould his new skills and knowledge.

What do you like most about your course?

“There wasn’t a single thing I didn’t like about my course. As it’s my passion, I enjoyed every second of it! The practical elements were my favorite as this is where we got to apply knowledge to real life scenarios within our field of expertise, allowing us to be ready for work after the course. I also love the support from the teachers and students, and all the opportunities to progress your skills.”

How do you think college has helped you achieve your goals?

“Just two weeks after completing my first practical assessment for level 2 Fitness Instruction, I was already working as a freelance instructor. Then, before I had finished my level 3 personal training course, I was employed by the Celtic Manor as a full-time personal trainer and I’ve set up my own business too. I believe Coleg Gwent has made me extremely employable due to the amount of qualifications awarded from both courses I’ve completed.”

What has been your biggest achievement to date in college life?

“My biggest achievement would be representing Coleg Gwent at the Welsh Fitness Instructor competition. Secondly, I’ve got through to the semi-finals of World Skills UK in the fitness trainer competition, representing Coleg Gwent as one of the new top 40 personal trainers in the UK. My aim is to reach the final in November.”

What advice would you give to students wishing to study your course at Coleg Gwent?

“Attend open events to talk to the tutors who could potentially be teaching you. Get to know them, as they are all industry experts and have a wealth of knowledge to give you. Also, make sure you listen, as everything is valuable in class!”

Learning is a lifelong process, and we’re proud to have a thriving community of adult learners in our college studying full-time, part-time and online. Join them by applying today for courses starting in September!