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Press release

  • 21 September 2004
  • Free courses aim to get women back on career ladder

    A new learning programme aimed at getting women back to work and further up the career ladder is being launched by the Centre for Continuing Education (CCE) at the University of Sussex - and it's absolutely free.

    Career Action for Women (CAW) is funded by the European Social Fund and offers a unique opportunity for women who have taken time out of work to have families, or those wishing to move out of part-time or low-paid work towards more rewarding careers.

    The CAW programme will also cover the cost of students' childcare and travel expenses. Places are still available and courses begin in October (see below for application details). Participants take a series of part-time courses, lasting between ten and 20 weeks, that can build to a degree, diploma or relevant vocational qualification and a career in nursing, teaching, law, social work and social care, management or community development.

    Participants can take as many courses as they need over a two-year period and can fast-track their way to completion if they wish - the aim is to fit the programme to the students. Often all that is required is attendance at a couple of two-hour sessions a week, plus independent study. One-to-one advice and guidance are also available.

    There are no strict entry requirements - just an interview to ensure that students can cope with the demands of studying at this level. Two introductory courses - New Horizons and Exploring Learning - offer skills for those who feel out of touch, including CV writing and interview techniques.

    Programme organiser River Jones has been running similar courses for women in Brighton and Hove for the past six years. She says: "There are lots of women out there who know they have the potential to achieve so much more, but need that bit of support to decide what the next steps are and take them. This programme will help them build up their confidence and their study skills, and to make really informed choices."

    Sally Clarke, 27, can't wait to begin the New Horizons course, which she hopes will lead to a place on the new Community Development Foundation Degree with CCE at Sussex. A foundation degree is equivalent to the first two thirds of a full honours degree. Sally left school with two A levels and currently works as an education development worker at the Bridge Community Education Centre in Moulsecoomb, Brighton. She says: "I know I've got it in me to get a Higher Education qualification, which will give me more confidence, more employability and more earning potential."

    Mother-of-three Tracy Elkins is a volunteer classroom assistant at Carlton Hill Primary School in Brighton. She wants to explore the possibility of training to become a teacher. The CAW programme should help her on her way to fulfilling that ambition. "I've been encouraged by some of the teachers to go further, so I hope to do that by joining Career Action for Women," says Tracy.


    Notes for editors 

    The Career Action for Women programme starts in October 2004. For more details or to enroll visit, call 873945/872987 or email

    For interviews with Tracy or Sally, please contact Maggie Clune in the Press Office, University of Sussex, on 01273 678309 or


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