Approximately a year and a half ago, I came across an advert on Facebook for a Crochet Diploma by the Centre of Excellence. Online and self-paced, the idea of this course appealed straight away- the advert also had a code for a significant discount, meaning it was ~£30 to sign up. I was conscious the qualification may not mean anything to anyone else (in a professional capacity), but I love to learn, so this was ideal.
Having been crazy about my hobby for a while and as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, encouraged by my friends and family to pursue (at least part-time) a creative business, I signed up and took on the course.
Whilst on holiday earlier this month I completed the course, about a year after I initially began it. I have a full-time job and a busy social life, so I chose to study only when I felt like it, to stop it becoming a burden. The diploma could definitely be completed in a shorter time frame, if you so wished.
The course covers how to crochet; advanced techniques; reading patterns and charts; designing various items from scarves and bags to clothing and finally the course finishes by covering basic business approaches, including considering your target market and writing a business plan.
Although I learnt new approaches from the first few modules, since I could already crochet and had some experience of the advanced techniques, the highlight of the course for me personally, was not only the modules about designing garments, but the final modules on thinking through a business plan. Both these aspects of the course were new to me and having a platform to go on from was just what I needed.
The assessments at the end of each module are largely simple and useful to cement knowledge. I treated them as open book and reviewed the content as I went along if I wasn’t completely sure of an answer. The final assessments were far more personalised to a business you may want to create, so required a lot of (good, needed) thought and reflection. A word of caution here, you cannot access the answers you submit for your assessments once completed, so make sure these are saved or written elsewhere. I wrote mine in my bullet journal and a separate crochet notebook.
Once I completed the course, I received lovely feedback and a certificate from CoE with my grade as well as confirmation of 150 hours of Continuing Professional Development. In addition to this, I received a certificate to say I was part of the International Alliance of Holistic Therapists as a result of getting the qualification. A note, you can access the course content after completing the course, very useful for a reminder! 😄
As I mentioned above, I’m not sure whether this will be recognised professionally as a qualification, but I think it demonstrates a love of the hobby and an ability to pursue learning & development for my own pleasure, so I think if re-doing my CV for example, it will feature as a personal achievement.
One other benefit I haven’t mentioned; doing the course qualifies you for an National Union of Students (NUS) card, enabling you to have student discount at various shops and the cinema; this is definitely worthwhile!
I would recommend doing this course or one similar if you’re considering setting up a business or want to get into designing – COE also provide a Sewing and Knitting Diploma too; make sure you look/ask for discount codes, as these make the courses far more accessible financially.
From a personal point of view, I recently realised that learning new things is a major factor for my motivation. For a time I had lost my ‘Crojo’ (the motivation and heart to crochet), so this course has helped to cement the love of crochet and I am now picking up my hook more often. I look forward to putting the skills I learnt into practise and hope to design something soon.
Doing the course is also part of the reason this blog exists, rather than remaining a longed for dream. As well as the blog, I also set up a Facebook page and Instagram feed (@mayailoves on both platforms). To be honest, I find it much easier to engage on these regularly, so please feel free to follow me there too to keep up to date. 😃
If any of you have an questions or thoughts, about the course or my journey, please let me know. I’d love to hear from you!