Different Paths - a Collection of Life Stories

‘Different Paths’ is a study of people aged 55+, led by Fife Centre for Equalities (FCE). We believe we all need to better understand the life-changing barriers experienced by people with protected characteristics. 

On this page, we present several themes that are shared across the life stories of several participants in the study. We hope that through the testimonies, you will gain insights on how human and protected characteristics have determined the life chances of participants across a wide range of environments and situations.

We ask if, today, you would take a different path?


Our participants shared their experiences of education, the barriers they faced and the impact that these had on their careers and life paths.

In this clip Martina explains how her condition affected her at school, and the impact it had on her sister and her relationship with her mum.

Susan shares how vulnerable she felt during high school, the impact that bullying had on her and the feeling of isolation that comes with it.

Gordon also went through the “11 Plus” test experience at a Catholic school, explaining to us the issues he had with the teaching style.

Hazel shares what it was like growing up with undiagnosed dyslexia, the impact that it had on her at school and how different approaches from teachers worked well for her on her journey to higher education.

Ann shares her experiences of the “11 Plus” test and the hierarchical structure that it created in secondary school.

Dave realised from a young age that he was different, comparing the ways his parents and gran accepted him – as well as his experiences in education and the choices he had after school.

Adnan gives a fascinating insight into the extremes between wealth and poverty in Iraq as a child, what going to school in the middle of these extremes was like and his success as an athlete.


Our participants shared their experiences of employment, how they were treated, the barriers faced when applying for jobs and progressing their careers and what would’ve helped them overcome these barriers.

This wee snippet highlights how Martina’s hearing deteriorated whilst she was working, the support she received from her colleagues and how she felt when forced to retire early.

Lorna was sacked from her first job at a chemist because she was pregnant, and it wouldn’t have created a “good image” according to her boss.

Ann’s first teaching job in Fife was at a primary school, however she was forced to take an employment break due to the birth of her first child – having a big impact on her future job hunt.

This clip shows how Dave’s employment journey started, the huge range of opportunities that were available at the time and how pupils are “boxed in” to certain subjects.


Our participants shared their experiences of transport.

Dave talks us through the process of getting assessed for a disabled bus pass, the barriers that he has faced when accessing public transport and the lack of assistance he has received.


Our participants shared their experiences of community safety.

Ken explains the challenges of living with a hidden disability and how this affects him in day-to-day life.

Dave takes us through how he and his partner have had to adapt when out in public to avoid becoming targets and why being in a wheelchair has changed his vision of safety. 

Please note that this page is a work in progress! We will be regularly adding lots of new clips from our interviews, covering a wide range of different topics, experiences and more.

We are also in need of volunteers to help create these short clips! If you are experienced in digital media editing and would like to help out with the project, please get in touch.

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