23rd May 2022
We caught up with former Access to HE student Kay Ostle, 35, to see what she's doing now and learn how the Access to HE course changed her life.
Q. How did you do at school? Did you enjoy it? How many GCSEs?
A. I left at 16 with no qualifications and a hatred for education settings.
Q. Why did you choose to return to education?
A. I chose to come back into education because I was living on benefits and bringing five children up, I wanted to break the cycle of living off the system. My son was diagnosed with autism and has suffered behavioural issues at school, I wanted to show him it will never be too late to get an education and skills. I also want to make a change in society for young adults that haven’t had a supportive family system around them and have ended up in prison.
Q. Why did you choose to study at the College?
A. I went for a careers meeting as Stafford College was local and she was amazing; taking the time to go through my options as I was 33 years old then and because Stafford offered the Pre-Access and then Access to HE courses with psychology being taught as a subject, I decided to enrol.
Q. How did you juggle completing your assignments alongside your work and family commitments?
A. I had to study the Pre-Access course prior to the Access to HE course which was tough as I was having personal problems at home.
I established a good routine of doing work on my days off and when my children were in bed and I was very blessed that my oldest daughter helped around the house to support me so that I could get on with my assignments. To be honest though, because I genuinely loved college so much it made it so much easier.
Q. How have College staff supported you during your time at college?
A. This box is not going to be big enough! I cannot thank the staff enough. I came to college with negative experiences in education and the staff were brilliant and changed my perceptions. Nothing was ever too much trouble and the staff build really good relationships with the students.
Q. What are you doing now?
A. I am now at Keele University studying psychology and criminology in my first year of undergraduate level.
Q. How do you feel that the Access to HE course prepared you for further study?
A. Stafford College Access to HE staff taught us to read journals, what plagiarism is and how to cite and reference. They prepared us to be able to cope with the workload, how to manage time and importantly how to write essays. There is a vast majority of my group at university that have not been taught any of this so we Access students go to university prepared very well.
Q. Do you have any future career goals?
A. My goal is to complete my undergraduate course and work in the prison system as a psychologist helping those with mental health issues. However, my education will not end there. I plan to do my master’s degree in social and political psychology and then my PhD in psychology. If I get time after this I would also love to do a course in law as I want to change certain laws regarding mental health and education for children with disabilities.
If you're inspired by Kay's journey, take a look at the Access to HE courses available at Stafford College.