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ADVICE: Daniel Oladunjoye

THEY SAY it is never too late to learn. And this ethos is one that has been whole-heartedly embraced by family man Daniel Oladunjoye, of Cippenham, Slough.

Just like the Eddie Murphy film Daddy Day Care in which the Hollywood star’s character goes from breadwinner to househusband to running a childminding business, Oladunjoye has given up a successful job in recruitment to retrain for a new career.

But instead of caring for children, the father-of-four is well on his way to fulfil an ambition of working in mental health nursing.

With the blessing of his supportive wife, Dorcas, Oladunjoye went back to the class at the ripe old age of 42 after leaving school the first time round with just a few GCSEs.

Determined Oladunjoye enrolled on a predominantly female health and social care course at Uxbridge College, in west London, alongside classmates as young as 16.
He pushed aside all insecurities about being a fish out of water and focus on his primary goal of improving himself and doing the best for his family.

“I did feel out of place, but I knew the reasons that had taken me back to school so that was always at the forefront of my mind,” said the model student who was honoured with an award for achieving a string of achievements in his exams.

“When you are focused you don’t get distracted,” the Berkshire resident added.
“I was once a teenager myself so I know what it’s like. In many ways, I was a role model in my class; one of the best students. The others looked at me and thought if he can do it at 42, then why can’t we?”

The student, who starts the final year of his three-year course this September, admits it was a struggle to balance his family duties with the demands of being a student.

But the Nigerian, raised in Osun state before relocating to the UK in 1999, said his parents had instilled the values of hard work in him from an early age.

“The hard way is the only way”, Oladunjoye said with a laugh who has had jobs ranging from a school caretaker to a supervisor at a cleaning firm."

“It has not been easy. My wife has been very supportive – without her I would not have been able to do this."

“I make time for her, I give time to my children, I help them with their homework and then between midnight and 2am I stay up to finish off coursework.

“The key thing is to come to an understanding with your partner, without that you can’t make any progress. Supporting each other is the most important thing in a marriage.”

CONFIDENT

But the proud dad said he is confident that his example is rubbing off on his four boys.

“Children learn from their parents,” he said. When they have a positive role model, it encourages them to become like you, or better than you. Without learning that lesson, they will be useless to themselves and society.”

He added: “I wanted to improve myself and in this part of the world it helps to have education."

“How can I encourage my sons to take their studies seriously if me the father couldn’t do it?”

Oladunjoye now plans to move on to Buckinghamshire New University to pursue a degree in his chosen field.

Initially, he had planned to become a qualified social worker, but now has his heart set on working with mental health patients.

Explaining the change of heart, he said: “Ethnic minorities need more support in mental health services.

“That’s why people like me are getting the proper training and credentials so we can get into the service to support and help them.”

For other mature students in his position, Oladunjoye had this advice: “Whatever you want to achieve just go out there and achieve it.”

He added: “Don’t focus on the challenges or you will talk yourself out of it. Focus on the positive outcome and reach for it.”

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