Frank's incredible thirty year journey of life long learning with Belfast Met
Published: 23 August 2021
Frank Higgins remarkable story shines a light on how his passion for lifelong learning has transformed his life. When Frank’s wife bet him a fiver over 30 years ago that he wouldn’t go back to night class to study English, he not only won the bet but began an incredible education and career journey.
Having left school at 15 to start work at the shipyard without any qualifications, Frank, 60, is now an academic historian and professional tour guide. After attending part-time courses at Belfast Met over the last 30 years, he has had five career changes that included management in Engineering and IT and tour guiding. Frank is living proof that education is life changing.
Now a published author and lecturer, Frank’s upskilling and reskilling has not only meant that he’s been able to have a career in a profession that he’s passionate about, but he’s reaped financial rewards of higher salaries and career aspirations.
Frank launched his new book last month ‘The Incredible History of Brown Square’ where he was born, and is the site of Belfast Met’s Millfield campus. He also runs his own tour guide company Belfastlad and just completed Belfast Met’s Level 4 Tour Guiding so he could get a professional tour guiding qualification. For Frank it hasn’t just been about learning a new hobby and meeting like-minded people, as the range of courses he completed have been instrumental for his career moves.
With very little financial investment anyone can achieve their career dreams through learning, whether a career change or upskilling to try something new. Many of us have been impacted by the pandemic so have reskilled to start a new career or are upskilling to get a better job and move into a career they are passionate about.
Frank Higgins, said, “Studying part-time at Belfast Met has been life changing for me, and literally catapulted me into five different great careers. Before I started my English course there 30 years ago, I had lost many of my literacy skills. On the back of that course, I went on to become the shop steward and foreman in the painting department at the shipyard. I then completed my ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels at the college which really built my confidence and sense of achievement. I also completed an IT course at the college which has been vital for my career.
“I signed up to do the professional Level 4 Tour Guiding course at Belfast Met last year, as I have a masters and wanted to receive a validation of my skills and a qualification for my tour guiding business. I wanted to be challenged when studying this course and have been able to embark on important research within it. I've now just enrolled on the part-time Level 4 Digital Marketing course starting this September to help me to market my tourism business."
Head of Belfast Business School, Belfast Met, Fiona Dempsey, confirmed: ”Frank is an exceptional student who has brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the classroom, whilst providing guidance and inspiration to others.
“His journey with Belfast Met demonstrates how our courses support aspirations and that our students can learn new skills for valuable and fulfilling careers.”