🚧 NSCG | Q&A with former Access to HE Learner, Becky Jones
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16th May 2022

With three young children and having worked in a variety of roles, Becky decided to retrain and achieve a professional qualification. After resitting her GCSE's at NSCG, Becky then progressed onto the Access to HE (Health Professionals) Diploma focussing on a career in the near future as a paramedic. Here Becky talks to us about the challenges of studying with family life.

Q. Why did you choose to return to education?

A. After having my three children and having various jobs I realised that I hadn’t got a proper set of qualifications. I wanted to try and prove to myself and my children that I was capable of achieving more than what I originally did at school. I wanted my children to be proud of me and I wanted them to have a better life.

Q. Why did you choose Newcastle College?

A. I wanted to go onto the Access course, but after discussing it with the team I was told that I hadn’t got the required entry requirements. I needed to have at least one GCSE in maths, or one GCSE in English in order to do the Access course at level 3 and I hadn’t got either of these. The staff were fantastic and gave me further advice and guidance about their level 2 Access course, which relates to health studies alongside doing maths and English GCSE. I completed the level 2, gained my GCSE qualifications, and then progressed to level 3 Access. The individual learning plan offered to me by Newcastle was what persuaded me to go to the college. It took two years (instead of one) but was completely worth it.

Q. How did you juggle completing your assignments alongside your work and family commitments?

A. It was all very intense and hard work…..but I managed it! I am single parent of three children and so had to be really organised with my time. There were obviously challenges along the way, and times when I would want to scream and quit, but eventually it somehow comes together and it is only for a short period of time. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Q. How did the Access to HE course prepare you for university?

A. Academically, it was a really beneficial course to do. When I started university I couldn’t believe how much more advanced I was in terms of academic writing etc. It helped to prepare me in a whole range of other things which are so important to my role…..team work, resilience, communication etc. I would urge anyone who is thinking of returning to education to just go for it! It is a fantastic way to be around other like-minded individuals who want to better themselves in some form.

Q. What help and support did you receive from the lecturers?

A. The support was fantastic. Heather was always on hand to guide us when we had a wobble, or were struggling with a specific thing. The team offered such a valuable, supportive role in order to help the students to progress.

Q. What are you doing now?

A. I am a qualified paramedic for West Midlands Ambulance Service. Every day is different and the role is so varied dependent on what you get called out for. It is such a honour to be able to serve my community and be part of the amazing NHS. I love being a paramedic.

Q. What is your future goal/plan?

A. After all the hard work, training and qualifications, I am just more than happy to be a paramedic. There is still so much to learn and so my future goal would be to just be the best paramedic I can be.

Q. Describe your time on the Access course?

A. Well, for me it was two years…first the level 2, then the level 3. It was really hard work and intense but really enjoyable at the same time. I made some amazing friends who have since gone onto health related careers. Access to HE was the starting point for all of us, and we should all be so proud of our achievements.

If you've been inspired by Rebecca's story, find out more about studying an Access to HE course at Newcastle College.