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Guy: "I joined Access at Ashford because I turned 30 and I wanted more out of life. At the time I thought I didn’t know what I was capable of, and I had decided that a degree in healthcare would be brilliant, as then you can work hard and work up. School didn’t work for me, I left with a B in Maths but all D’s and E’s in other subjects. Last year in the course I got all but one distinction on Access and then a 6 in English (equivalent to a high B under the old grading system) I proved to myself that I can do it – this course completely changed my mindset of what I’m capable of."
Ellie: "When I was due to do A Levels, my circumstances at the time didn’t allow me to do them. I've since had 3 kids and I got to a point in my 30’s where I thought I want to get a career and I want to focus on myself. I found the course online and decided to give it a go. I felt that by not having A Levels I hadn’t achieved academically, and I also thought that by having Dyslexia I couldn’t achieve my A Levels. When I came to Ashford College I realised that wasn’t the case and that I had lots of support and that it was the right thing for me as soon as I got here. I think that’s what we have in common, we both have obstacles."
G: "We did work very closely last year, not exactly helping each other, but I get very distracted at home when it comes to working, like I just can’t do it. I found that just working in the E-Hub and working with someone was so much easier and we did so well this year because of it. I’m going to university now and I’m looking forward to it. Ashford has such a good support network, like Katie (E-Hub Coordinator) is amazing as she will just sit down with you and take your time, and even though Jane and Lisa (Access lecturers) have lots of classes they will also give you lots of their time. Even if I did A Levels, I don’t think I would have been as prepared as I am now. We’re so far ahead, like we’ve done Harvard referencing and we know exactly how to write an essay."
E: "Yeah I agree, I’ve gone from barely being able to write a couple of sentences when I first came here, to writing essays that I never thought imaginable in the space of 9 months. I feel ready for uni now, even though I won't have all the support on hand that I had here!"
G: "I do feel ready now, it was an amazing achievement. It was the team element for me that really stood out about this course and how everyone helps each other through it."
E: "I really liked Psychology with Jane, as it felt that you could explore different avenues rather than it being structured such as the Biology modules. You can dive a bit deeper. I didn’t think I would like this part of the course which did surprise me."
G: "Sociology was good for me as it’s life and easy to research. Halfway through the course I changed what I wanted to do. I was going to do childcare and nursing but something didn’t feel right. I loved the course but I just had a gut feeling it wasn’t for me. I looked at what else there was. I’m now doing a degree in education as it includes Sociology and Psychology. It’s really interesting as education failed me when I was 16 with A Levels in school and that’s what my degree is all about."
E: "I would say it doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you’ve been out of education, it’s not too late. I’d been out of education for 17 years, and that’s quite a time to not have written any essays or done anything like that. I was literally able to jump into Access and throw myself into it. You do have to really dedicate yourself to it and dedicate time. One of the key things to do is that if you set yourself scheduled study time outside college hours then that really does help rather than doing it when you think you have a free moment. As I have kids, I focused on the course between Monday to Friday during the day, and then I had my evenings/weekends with my family."
G: "In this environment it does also help to make friends in the course, so that you can lean on them for support. I’ve been out of education for 15/16 years and I was never academic. I came in and through Jane and Lisa’s teaching I ‘ve learnt so much. In terms of IT skills I didn’t know anything and that has especially changed my life."
E: "Also, what the teachers say, make sure you do it. I know it sounds ridiculous but they might say ‘give this a go’ or ‘try this website’ and what they're saying is advice that will help you achieve the good grades or write a good essay. Both Jane and Lisa were brilliant at helping us."
G: "Don’t even be afraid to fail or ask for help as they will help you any way you can. Figure out how you learn best, like I had to had someone in the environment with me as otherwise I couldn’t focus.
E: "We were lucky that we had such good teachers as I remember when I was younger with education I didn’t have good teachers so it put me off and they didn’t make me feel like I could do well, whereas Lisa and Jane here make you believe that you can do really well."
G: "it is life changing – it’s turned our lives around and completely changed our perspectives on what we can achieved. It’s given us a boost in self belief. If you don’t think you can do well, as at school I had ADHD, just try and everyone here will help you find your way. It’s never too late, there was people on our course that were in their 40’s and 50’s."
E: "Access has made me feel I am worthy of getting myself a really good education and career and that I am better than I think I am. It’s given me self-worth and a massive confidence boost."
G: "A lot more confidence, at the start I didn’t have a clue and by the end people were coming to me for help which I didn’t think would ever happen. That’s why I thought about the education degree. Its better than you think, like we’ve both done so well this year. It’s also really nice to have older students on the course with you."
E: "That’s it - it completely changed my view on education and it’s also nice to be round like minded people, when you’re on an access course you’re with people that are there to learn and want to do well. They have made a choice and decided to go into education, rather than it being forced or necessary for them to do it."