IDI student Deborah Priestley has always been keen to study photography, but underlying problems with her health made it difficult for her to consider this seriously. After becoming familiar with the benefits of studying online due to her job – Deborah found herself training people using e-learning - she began wonder whether a similar programme could suit her needs. Researching her options, she found that IDI provided just the opportunity she was looking for:
"After reviewing providers and taking into account comments from current and past students, flexibility of learning, no requirement to attend classes certain weeks of the year and cost, IDI was miles ahead of the other potential providers."
Deborah suffers from Fibromyalgia, which causes widespread pain and tiredness. It took doctors 16 years to diagnose her condition and its debilitating effect made it hard for her to imagine having the energy to study and work at the same time. Recently, however, after a slight recovery, Deborah decided she was ready for the challenge:
"Over the last 18 months doctors have continually altered my medication, only in the last few months have I felt well enough to be able to invest time, on top of working full time, in learning."
A further barrier to learning was Deborah's dedication to her work. She runs a photography business, NY Images UK, with her business partner (and fellow IDI student) Graham Watson, running photography workshops and undertaking portrait and wedding work on commission. In order to fulfil their ambition to make the business one of the best in the north of England, Deborah decided that she would have to raise her photography skills and gain a qualification. IDI has allowed her to work towards this and found she developed skills that she wouldn't get otherwise:
"I had never used a film SLR camera before and never considered developing my own prints. It has been such a positive experience that I, and my co-director and fellow student, Graham Watson, have purchased dark room equipment so we can set our own up."
Deborah hopes that the course will continue to enable her to increase her knowledge and skills and allow her to further develop her creativity. She is looking forward to watching her photography business grow and her wildlife photography improve. The course is helping her to realise this by raising her confidence and allowing her to find enough time for work, health and study:
"It is good to get recognition and positive feedback from the tutors for what I do well, as well as gaining constructive feedback on how to improve aspects which I have never done before.
"Some weeks it is hard to balance all the commitments I have, however given the flexibility of the course, I have not felt under pressure. As long as you maintain good communication with the tutors and can plan 'catch up' time, there are no issues."
Deborah is pleased at the opportunities that IDI has made available to her and was impressed by the professional support she received when she was considering joining:
"All my questions were answered promptly and honestly. The support received during the enrolment was superb, and that level of support is maintained throughout the qualification. I have no regrets whatsoever in applying and doing my qualification with IDI."