A working mum-of-two has proved that dedication and commitment will be rewarded, after being awarded an impressive 45/45 distinctions on her course.
With two young children to look after, and a part-time job to maintain, Jenna Hughes from Llandudno Junction had to be more determined than most when embarking on the Access to Health Care course at Coleg Llandrillo.
Despite having already graduated from Bangor University in 2007 with a degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice, and subsequently working as a Customer Assistant at a local bank, Jenna had always aspired to become a midwife. After speaking to the Admissions Tutor at Bangor University, she decided to gain evidence of recent study, in order to prove that she could still demonstrate the academic skills needed to study at university-level.
Once she had made up her mind to enrol on the Access course, Jenna changed her working pattern at the bank to accommodate the three days required on the course, and worked on the days that she was not in college. This meant that she had to organise her time meticulously to ensure that she met every deadline, undertaking her research and writing assignments during evenings and weekends.
Speaking about the experience, Jenna said,
It was tough, especially when my husband was working late as I couldn't sit down to start my assignments until the kids were settled in bed. I'm not going to lie, some nights I was up until the early hours finishing off assignments, but I was determined to achieve the best grades possible. And my husband and kids have been so supportive and understanding.
The access course is unique as there are so many different subject areas and modules. I would sometimes have four assignments on the go all at once with deadlines falling within the same week so, in order to succeed, time management and effective organisational skills were critical. However, I started the course with the mind-set that it was going to be intense, but that it would all be worth it; sometimes you have to sacrifice a little to gain a lot.
When asked about the level of support offered by the college, Jenna commented,
Our tutor, Stan was amazing - he was always available for support and guidance whenever we needed it, and dealt with any issues we had promptly. I felt that he genuinely had our best interests at heart. Truth be told, I felt that with the entire college staff, as they were all friendly and approachable, and always ready to help. My cohort was great too - we all got on well and supported each other throughout which was nice.
Not resting on her laurels, Jenna has now been offered a place on the Midwifery degree at Bangor University, for which there is extremely stiff competition, and will start her studies in three weeks. She will also continue to volunteer at a local maternity ward and work as a NHS Health Care Assistant (bank).
Asked if she had any words of advice for others considering the same path, Jenna said,
It's never too late. If you're committed to changing career paths and would like to work in the Health Care sector, this course is the perfect stepping-stone. I feel like the course has prepared me for Higher Education level study after being out of education for almost 13 years, and that I'm now in a position to 'hit the ground running.' I have learned so much over the last year, and it has been a great refresher. I'm truly thrilled to have been offered a place at Bangor University, and can't wait to start my next chapter
For more information on Access courses at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, visit www.gllm.ac.uk/access