My story - Wendy
Wendy Chance had gardened all her life, but had never considered turning it into a profession until she realised she could study it on her doorstep.
Now in her 50s, Wendy has had a variety of jobs. She originally trained as a nurse and specialised in caring for people with learning disabilities before moving in the education sector. She and her husband have owned hotels, including one in Islay. They have lived in France and the Channel Islands as well as in various places around the UK.
The only thing which was constant throughout was her love of gardening.
A couple of years ago Wendy had treatment on her right eye during which she lost her sight in that eye completely. At the time her job entailed a lot of computer work, which was difficult with her reduced vision.
“I thought to myself that there must be something I can do which is less strenuous on the eyes and more fun, so I came to Argyll College UHI to see if there was anything suitable. As soon as I realised there was a horticulture option, that was it for me,” Wendy said.
She was accepted on the HNC Horticulture course, and has never looked back.
“It’s been unbelievable. I’ve loved every minute of it and wish I’d done something like this 20 years ago,” she said.
“I’ve achieved better grades that I imagined I was capable of, which I believe is largely down to the tutors I’ve been lucky enough to have. They have been amazing – so supportive and encouraging.
“If I’d had such incredible teachers at school I’d have been a brain surgeon! They put so much into the course that I want to do well for them as well as for myself.”
Wendy did her work placement at one of the UK’s most famous gardens – the Chelsea Physic Garden in London, which doesn’t usually take on students for less than three months.
“It was fantastic – such a great experience. It’s inspired me to go on and try to do the HND in Horticulture and then, who knows?
“I’ve already arranged to work part time at the nursery on Islay while I study, so we’ll see where I end up after that.
“I know I’m a bit older than most students, but it’s never too late to study something you love. I’m so grateful to Argyll College for enabling me to do that, and I recommend that anyone who’s interested in studying – whatever age they are – visit their local college centre and find out what’s on offer.”