Mansfield college tutor who turned life around inspires others to enter education

A Mansfield college tutor who went from rock bottom to feeling “so incredibly proud” is inspiring others in the community to use education to change and succeed.

Tuesday, 19th January 2021, 11:08 am
Liz with some of her complementary therapies oils at the college's Chesterfield Road campus.

Liz Walsh, now a complementary therapies tutor at West Nottinghamshire College, worked as a professional singer for more than 30 years all over the world.

With no formal singing training, Liz gathered her confidence and love for entertaining as a Butlin’s Red Coat back when she was 17.

She said: “At just 17 I was on fire. I couldn’t wait to get out in the world and my year at Butlin’s got me the grounding and confidence for entertaining, singing, performing in shows and socialising. It was just brilliant.”

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Liz began her singing career in the 1980s.

Liz went on to work as a professional singer getting experience in bands in London then on cruise ships all over the world. She then returned up north to pursue her solo career working in lots of clubs singing all genres of songs.

It was when illness hit her family that she was forced to stop her singing career.

She said: “I had a bad chest infection and was poorly for months. My mum also got diagnosed with cancer and in just four months her health deteriorated so badly – then she sadly died. So to earn a living I ended up working in retail – a completely different world to my former career.”

As well as caring for her young daughter, working long hours and the culmination of her grief from losing her mum, Liz’s mental health started to decline.

Friends who saw Liz sinking into depression suggested she take a look at a floristry course at a local college to give her a bit of motivation. This was something she found solace in and was soon encouraged to enrol onto a level three teaching qualification.

She said: “After studying the short floristry course it really opened my eyes that there were plenty of opportunities out there and it gave me the boost I needed. So when the chance to take the teaching qualification came, I jumped at it. I knew that I wanted to give it a try and I also wanted my daughter to grow up being proud of her mum.”

Her teaching career at West Nottinghamshire College began in January 2019 when Liz became a tutor in the adult and community team teaching complementary therapies at the Chesterfield Road campus. Courses include introduction to massage, aromatherapy, making bath bombs and bath salts as well as a class aimed at creating journals to combat anxiety.

Liz said: “I began to feel so incredibly proud of how I had changed and to be able to help other people to improve their lives through these courses was so rewarding.

“In more recent times where we’ve seen more people struggling with isolation, depression and loneliness to be able to still take small classes it has given people that chance to interact, make new friends and learn skills to help them to relax or reinvigorate.

“I went from everything in my life being depressing to feeling amazing. I really am a different person today. I wasn’t confident and now I’m so proud of all I’ve achieved.”

To find out more about the college’s adult and community courses, visit