Graduate spotlight - Lisa Cockburn

Lisa Cockburn graduated with an HND in Legal Services from North East Scotland College recently. Her journey towards the qualification has seen her travel abroad and work in several sectors, predominantly in supply chain.

Lisa Cockburn at the North East Scotland College graduation ceremony

Lisa (49) was born in Trinidad and Tobago, where she attended school and secretarial college. For a decade, she worked in supply chain for a construction company there and then spent time in the USA and the Middle East. In 1998, Lisa met her now-husband, who is Scottish, when he arrived in Trinidad to work for the same company. She moved her life to Aberdeenshire in 2004, was married in 2005, and, for a further decade, Lisa again worked in supply chain - this time within the oil and gas sector. During this time, Lisa gained an NVQ Level 4 in Procurement & Supply Chain Management.  When she was made redundant in 2015, her employer suggested that she look into retraining. So while taking on a job in the care sector, she also started looking into courses at NESCol.

She said, “I started looking into college and spoke with a student support advisor. I was thinking of applying for an Administration and IT course as I’d always worked in the purchase and supply chain, so they arranged for me to sit in on a class.” When it became apparent this wasn’t the course for her, as she was already familiar with much of the subject material, Lisa was also given the opportunity to sit in on a Legal Services lecture.  She said, “The lecturer was talking to a class about property law and I was hooked right away!”

And so began Lisa’s time at North East Scotland College, where she enjoyed being in classes with people of all ages who shared a thirst for knowledge. It was the start of an entirely new journey for her. She said, “College gave me a renewed desire to learn new things and the confidence to continue learning. In moments of doubt, my lecturer would tell me ‘you can do this – do not stop. Look at the progress you have made – go for it!’" Lisa took this advice and ran with it, and she is now furthering her qualification at Robert Gordon University, where she gained direct entry into year three of a BA (Hons) Law and Management Degree. This step will make Lisa the only one of six sisters to attend university, and the first in her generation.

She said, “My mum came to visit last year and I took her to see RGU – I told her I will be a student there in the very near future. I had been given the opportunity to realise one of my dreams, and make it happen.  With a foundation in transferrable life skills and success in attaining my HND, I decided I would use the two plus two route to go to RGU. It was my goal and I am so very proud of my achievement."