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With entry to university proving to be tougher than ever, one group of students from Lowestoft College is celebrating after gaining a place to study for a degree.
The group have all just completed an Access course at the college following a Social Work and Social Science or Science and Health pathway. A total of 16 people from the Social Work and Social Science course have been offered a place, while 19 from the Science and Health course are set to study for a degree in September.
A broad range of courses await the students from the Social Work and Social Science course who are moving on to degrees in Social Work, Psychology and Criminology, Social Science, Mental Health Nursing and Counselling and will be studying at the University of Suffolk, the UEA and in Lancashire.
Students from the Science and Health course are set to join courses include Midwifery, Pharmacy, Operating Department Practice, Biochemistry, Biomedicine, Ecology and even Philosophy. And, while many have decided to stay in East Anglia to study with either the UEA or University of Suffolk, others are moving further afield and travelling to Leicester, Bath and Portsmouth.
Course lecturer Lesley Leuty said: “People often don’t know what they can achieve. It really is life-changing and opens doors like nothing else I know.”
The courses have a history of success and in the 21 years that Lesley has been course tutor for Science and Health, almost everyone has passed. And with places still available to start soon, Lesley hopes the next group of students due to start in September will enjoy similar success.
Access programmes are designed to give people a range of skills and a relevant qualification that will prepare them for university. As well as building on subject knowledge, the programmes also give an overview of how to learn, how to apply things, how to pass and how to study. A by-product of this is the confidence people often gain.
One person who has seen how the access courses can change lives is Kirsty Martin (pictured) who is going to be studying Biological Sciences at the UEA. Throughout school the 28-year-old, who lives in Lowestoft, was told she had academic ability but left without achieving any qualifications. Several years later she looked to improve her skills and qualifications and joined an English and maths course at the library.
She then applied to study for the access course but found out that she would need GCSEs to be able to study at university and decided to put off joining the course for a year to focus on gaining the qualifications. She passed with flying colours by gaining an A and two Bs for biology, English and maths and now, a year later, Kirsty is excited about her next challenge which will see her study a degree in Biological Science at the UEA. September will be a busy time for Kirsty as she will have to juggle studying for a degree with looking after her three children who are aged 5, 6 and 7.
Kirsty said: “The confidence leap the Access course has given me is huge. Before I joined the course, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to apply for jobs or even take driving lessons.
“It’s given me the confidence to fail. To realise that it’s not the end of the world if I don’t achieve something and not to take things personally. I now feel able to go and study at university and hope to be able to go in to a career in teaching or research.”
The course isn’t just a route to university but has also led people to apprenticeships or employment and former students now work in a range of roles within the healthcare and science field. Access courses are nationally recognised qualifications and are widely accepted as a route to university.
Places are still available on the Access programmes starting at Lowestoft College in September. For more information contact Karen on 01502 525050 or visit https://www.lowestoft.ac.uk/study/access-he