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Article: My Story: Busy Dad learns his way home

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Distance Learning Centre



My story’s about turning compromise into success through determination and distance learning.


I started out in the Merchant Navy, soon as I could. Being a deckhand was gutting work but the sights and experiences are still worth the sore back! Fast forward three decades and now I’m a marine engineer working the North rigs. Along the way I was lucky enough to father two kids, kids I provide for by working so far from home.


They’re at that age now where you need to be there. Your absence guarantees their comfort and security but it never guarantees them a father to be there when they get home from school.


I know from reading on here that it’s so difficult to compromise – but I had to make a choice. The job I’d dreamed of doing since I was 16 was now the barrier between me and my children.


The problem with change is risk. I had to risk it all to even chance gaining anything back. But you know when it’s worth it.


During my shore-time I began to focus on alternatives:

First was proximity:        I had to be close to (or at) home

Second was flexibility:    Work had to be on my terms.

Third was longevity:       It had to be able to last.


After some time I decided to take the plunge and quit my job. I had it all planned out and sometimes - if you really want it to - the plan works. Coming back down the motorway for the last time, was a long, long drive. But finally I was back in the driving seat.


I started to learn again: I began a business management course. Then an operations management course. Halfway through that I started a financial management programme. After which, I studied marketing.


I was hooked! And it was all because I had a vision. I wanted to open my own garage, right by the house. We already had the space and I knew the right people. I’d saved enough money and I’d earned the right qualifications. Preparing was so easy when I could see each day how it was all so worthwhile! The kids didn’t even know how much they were helping me.


Yet no matter how much you prepare for the best possible start, it doesn’t always work out right. Opening day was so quiet - even quieter than the engine room on cool down. We thought it’d never pick up, but it did. I’d not have guessed it but we’re 18 months down the line now and things are going so well. We’re stable, happy and slowing taking on more work. I work 6 hours a day, 4 days a week and in three years I hope to have halved that.


I’ve put everything I’ve learned to good use.


Taking the first step is the hardest part. Accepting help can be difficult too, but when you know you need it, asking becomes much easier. The Distance Learning Centre is one of the UK's biggest and longest established providers of distance learning and they guided me every step of the way.


The Distance Learning Centre




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