I was also at this time looking to make a serious career change, and friends and family had always said I should do something with photography.
Anyway, in 2003 I decided to work part-time and return to college in Dundee to do an NQ in photography, and was surprised at how much I already knew. Thats not to say that I didn't learn anything, far from it! Doing this course introduced me to Medium Format and 5x4 equipment as well as studio lighting techniques. Everything was done in b&w and produced by hand. But probably of most benefit was having to work to a specific brief on each assignment (forcing you to use equipment you'd probably avoid given the choice ;-)!!). And these briefs covered a broad and challenging range of genres.
Right now I've just completed a 2nd year (HNC Photography and Digital Imaging) which obviously takes things a bit further, working to briefs but including colour transparency and a lot of digital.
During these two years I've had images published in both the local and national press and have undertaken a few commissions, mainly portraits and group shots.
I am intending to enroll on the next stage of these courses (HND) which will be mostly self-directed and themed. Overall these courses have made me realise that I do have a modicum of talent that can be developed, but mostly it has given me the confidence and self-belief to make that career change. Heres to the future, Slainte! :-)