A former golf pro has swapped the fairway for the classroom after taking up a career as a nursery Child Development Officer.
Paul Morrison, from Newton Mearns, had worked as a golf pro for 13 years before deciding it was time to look for a new challenge.
The 44-year-old, who attended St Ninian’s High and St Joseph’s Primary during his school days, “took the plunge” into the classroom and having now successfully completed an HNC in Early Childhood Practice is sure he made the right call.
Paul said: “I realised a boyhood dream by going in to the golf trade but after many years I felt as though I wanted a change in career. I had always considered being a school teacher and through working in schools doing golf coaching sessions, knew that I enjoyed being in the school environment. So I initially went onto the supply register for Pupil Support Assistants (PSA) and started in Isobel Mair School soon after. From the very beginning I loved it and being in the Additional Support Needs (ASN) environment meant I was learning so many new skills all the time.
“ASN was an area I did not know much about when I first came into it. Every child communicates differently and has different needs and I find it so rewarding. It’s more than just providing learning we have real focus on providing our young people with skills for life. You can make a difference to parents’ lives too by providing children with simple life skills that helps families to be able to enjoy new experiences together.”
Having spent six years working as a PSA in Isobel Mair School, an opportunity arose for Paul to go back to college to gain a new qualification.
East Renfrewshire Council provided the chance for a number of clerical staff and PSAs to enrol in a course at West College Scotland to complete an HNC in Early Childhood Practice.
The move was part of the Council’s drive to meet new Scottish Government targets for free childcare by August 2020.
Local authorities currently provide 600 free hours a year for all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds, but this is increasing to 1,140 hours.
As well as this requiring the council to increase the number of nurseries, more than 100 additional Child Development Officers (CDOs) will also be needed.
Staff who completed the HNC were given paid day release by the Council to allow them to attend college, and also spent a minimum of 60 days within an early learning and childcare setting in order to complete the course.
Paul added: “The early years expansion will provide a range of opportunities in the years ahead, so when I got the chance to take on the HNC I knew it was a no-brainer. I’m delighted to have already gained this fantastic opportunity as a CDO at Isobel Mair Family Centre. Having started at Isobel Mair as a PSA, my heart now lies in ASN, and I’m loving taking on all the new challenges I’m facing and can see a real future in this.”