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Andy is studying Foundation Degree in Computing at our Mid Devon campus.
Name: Andy HowardCourse: FdSc ComputingYear: 2Campus: Mid DevonPreviously: Access to HE Diploma in SciencePrevious School: Chulmleigh Community College
"I came here in 2008 and did Uniformed Public Services – then lots of job cuts happened. I worked for about 5 years and then that’s when I decided I want to go and study computing as that’s the kind of thing I like to do. I decided to go on the Access course at Petroc. It helped a lot, especially as I got my A-level Maths.
"The degree class is small so it’s easier to learn. I’m hoping to go to Plymouth for the third year – I’ve got a house with all the guys on the course. I was thinking of going into teaching or web development after. One of the modules is a PGCE, so that would be ideal. I’ll take it as it comes – see what third year’s like!
"If you’re thinking of doing the degree, come and talk to the people on the course. Find out what it’s all about and get an idea of everything. You don’t have to have a lot of knowledge beforehand - you get to do it in the first year."
Mariana studied ESOL Skills for Life before progressing to GCSE English and Maths, and is now studying Access to HE: Science.
Studying: Access to HE: SciencePreviously: ESOL Skills for Life
"I started with ESOL, which was an intermediate course. I did English before in my country (Moldova). I did ESOL for a year, for all three terms but different levels. It helped me to improve my language and overcome the culture shock. The teachers were understanding and tried to give advice, and they helped me a lot. I also met other people who are in the same boat.
"I did ESOL in 2015, and in 2016 I did my GCSE Maths and English. I did both of them before but I did these ones too, for speakers of native English. It’s the impression that without GCSEs you can’t have a good job. It helped to learn the subjects in another language.
"I’m now studying Access to HE: Science. I did science in my country so I thought it would be easier for me. So far I have got a distinction! All the teachers give great support and I make the most of it. I’m applying for now for teacher training so hopefully it will start a uni course next September.
"I would recommend ESOL for people who want to improve their language and for people who don’t have too many contacts here. It’s a great way to meet people who know what you are going through. You can share the experience. My first friends here were from ESOL. Knowing them has given me a chance to visit other countries too."
Amy is studying an Access to HE Diploma to enable her to pursue a career as a children's nurse.
Access to HE Diploma in Nursing, Midwifery and Medical Science
“I originally started at Petroc on a catering course, before progressing onto Health and Social Care. I enjoyed my time at college, but had been in education a long time so decided to take a year out and work.
It was during this time – at the start of this year – that I had an epiphany! All of a sudden I knew what I wanted to do: become a children’s nurse. However, I didn’t have the right qualifications to go straight to university.
I found out about the Access to HE course through a friend and knew that it was exactly what I was looking for, so applied straight away.
I’m really enjoying the diploma so far. Most people are in the same boat and want the same things out of the course, so we all support and encourage each other. It can be challenging balancing working and studying, but I’m lucky that my employer is very understanding.
Although it’s hard work – we’ve already had to hand in four assignments in the first term – it’s definitely worth it. I feel like my confidence has already improved a lot, and it has given me the belief that I can do anything if I put my mind to it.
I’ve recently applied to Bournemouth University for a three year course, which starts with 12 weeks of theory and then goes straight into a hospital placement – I can’t wait. In the future I’d like to specialise in neonatal care.”
Natalie studied the Access to Higher Education Diploma in Nursing, Midwifery and Medical Science.
Why did you choose to come to Petroc? My husband had studied the Level 5 CIPD at Petroc and had a very rewarding experience describing the tutors as professional, accessible and supportive. It seemed to me a good place to start exploring my route back into education.
And what made you pick this particular course? I knew I needed to gain a Science qualification for my chosen course at university, but also knew that just sitting an A-level in my case was not enough. The last time I attended school and college, the World Wide Web was not available in the public domain! I realised that I needed to develop my study skills and gain confidence, not just in the modern classroom environment but with up-to-date referencing techniques and presentation skills.
Which elements of your course do you particularly enjoy?I really enjoyed the Science Lab practicals - ironically, Science terrified me at school! The tutors presentation and explanation of the subject matter really clicked with me and do not get me wrong, it wasn't easy, but it was fun. I also really enjoyed working alongside the other members of the course. Everybody brought something different to the table but most of all we all gained confidence from each other.
What do you plan to do when you leave college?I have been accepted to study at the University of St Mark and St John on their BSc (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy course.
Any advice for someone thinking of choosing the same course as you?Yes, just do it! I do not think there is ever a right time when considering going back into full-time education as a mature student. There is so much to take into consideration whether it be childcare, finances or just that awful fear that it is too late. It's not. Make an appointment to explore the loans and finance on offer - the team at Petroc are really helpful with this.
Ray studied the Access to Higher Education Diploma in Science.
Why did you choose to come to Petroc?Petroc was recommended to me by my wife who had previously worked there. They were my local education provider for the course I required and came highly recommended by people who had previously studied there.
Which elements of your course do you particularly enjoy?I particularly enjoyed Biology as it is something I wish to pursue at a higher level. I also thoroughly enjoyed Psychology as it was a completely new subject to me and I found it very interesting.
What have been the highlights so far?Getting back into education after such a long time has been my highlight. Rediscovering my love for learning all things Science.
What do you most enjoy about studying at Petroc?The excellent support from the tutors, especially during the difficult period at the end of the course during lockdown. The tutors have been very understanding and always ready and willing to offer support.
What do you plan to do when you leave college?I have had offers from universities to study a Bsc in Zoology.
What’s the long-term plan?To achieve a Msc in Zoology and then study Entomology. My ultimate goal is to achieve a PhD.
Any advice for someone thinking of choosing the same course as you?Go for it! It's never too late to get back into education and this is the perfect course to get into university. Petroc is a great college that offers amazing support.
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