Penny, who is in her sixties, said: “I’d never owned a small business before so everything was entirely new to me. Nowadays the common attitude is that everyone is supposed to be working until they’re about 80, so I thought I might as well do something I enjoy!”
Running the business single-handed meant that Penny had to become well-versed in all areas of business. So she decided to take a marketing course – and she’s already seen a return on her investment with business steadily increasing since it opened in October.
She said: “I picked up lots of different ideas to help market the gallery that would have been costly if I’d hired someone. I’ve done all kinds of promotion to get Oil & Water into the public eye including leaflet drops, press releases, email newsletters and using social media - which isn’t something I would’ve immediately thought of. I’m now looking to expand by selling works online too.”
Penny’s experience echoes that of many other adult learners who report increased self-confidence after improving their skills, as well as an improved sense of happiness and well-being.
Vanessa Hodder, Head of Adult Community Learning said: “We’ve seen a big increase in adults taking courses to help them kick start their own business ideas. Wandsworth is an extremely ambitious and enterprising borough and with over 1,000 courses to choose from it’s not difficult for people to find something to suit their interests. Adult Learners’ Week is the perfect time for us to celebrate the benefits of lifelong learning; as well as improved confidence learning new skills can also increase job prospects. We hope plenty of people will take advantage of our free drop-in offer and take their first step towards changing their life.”
On her achievements, Penny concluded: “I feel a huge satisfaction of having got the business up and running. The course at South Thames College definitely helped to give me the confidence to go for it. Whether you’re unsure about returning to education or even starting a business, my advice would be just to take the plunge.”
Visit us at Southside Shopping Centre on Saturday 14 June between 11am - 2pm to try your hand at some of our courses and speak to the course tutors.