Joyce Abumujor is a truly inspirational plumbing and bricklaying student who is studying at college to help her change the lives of women across Africa.
We caught up with her to ask a few questions about her studies and exciting long term goals.
Why did you decide to come to college?
I wanted to get the qualifications I need to enable me to take the skills I am learning back to my Nigerian roots to give vulnerable young girls the opportunities I never had to learn a trade. I am planning to work with existing academies in Nigeria and across Africa to teach girls construction skills enabling them to build a career and a brighter future. These courses are the first step on that journey.
I was always interested in getting more practical skills as a teenager and I used to help my Dad in his mechanics workshop but because I was female it wasn’t encouraged. My life took a different path and I never had the opportunity to finish my studies or get the career I wanted.
I have seen how education opens doors for young people and I want to make sure the girls in Nigeria are given the chances I didn’t have.
What’s it like studying as an adult?
Age is just a number and although I previously felt like a failure for not having formal qualifications at my age, now I am back in education nothing is going to stop me. I am really enjoying it here.
Tutors are really supportive and help me to juggle studying with working life. There is so much respect amongst students and tutors that it doesn’t matter what age you are. What is important is that we are doing the work we need to do to achieve the qualification. I think the younger students have accepted me into the group. We work well together and I think we learn from each other too.
Is there anything that has surprised you about college life?
There are lots of opportunities to get involved with things that develop more than just the technical skills that are part of my qualification. For example, I am a member of the Women in Construction group which meets regularly to ensure female students on construction course are fully supported in their studies, can share best practice and encourage other women into the sector. I know this will help me when I establish the project I want to do in Africa.
What’s next for you?
I am studying a level 2 in plumbing at the same time as a Diploma in Construction & Built Environment this year.