23rd May 2022
After working in retail for many years, Melanie Gough-Rogers decided to return to the classroom and study the Access to HE (Health Professionals) pathway at Newcastle College to fulfil her ambitions of becoming a midwife. We chatted to Melanie to hear why she chose to study at NSCG and how the Access course helped her to get to where she is today.
Q. Why did you choose to return to education?
A. Since leaving school I had worked in retail and always enjoyed the role. However, once I had my children I started to think that I wanted a more meaningful role. I became increasingly interested in the role of a midwife and their integral role within the community and hospitals. I began to enquire more about the qualifications needed and before I knew it I had signed up for the Access course.
Q. Why did you choose to study at Newcastle College?
A. At the time, I was not living in Staffordshire, but I had heard really amazing things about Keele University and so after some discussion, my partner and I re-located to Newcastle. It was only natural that I enrolled at the college as it was very close to our new home. However, I did also look into other colleges, but none of them had the reputation that Newcastle did.
Q. How did you juggle completing your assignments alongside your work and family commitments?
A. This was my biggest worry to be honest. I had a small baby and two year old when I started Access and people thought I was mad to be taking on such a huge commitment. But it was very much a “now or never” type attitude, as I honestly thought that there would NEVER be a good time. It took a lot of organising around my assignments, childcare, and a million other things but it soon just settled into a new type of normality for us as a family. I made use of every spare moment I had, was in the library lots doing my research, and was able to juggle everything in order to get the high grades that I needed for Midwifery.
Q. How did the Access to HE course prepare you for university?
A. It was a great stepping stone in helping me to gain more confidence in my ability. I have always had a lot of self-doubt and tend to overthink. The Access course showed me that I was capable of achieving high grades, capable of entering university, and capable of being a future midwife! It was such a crucial part of my personal development and growth.
Q. What help and support did you receive from the lecturers?
A. We all had a huge amount of support from the staff. Heather always had an “open door” and an “open ear” for anything that we needed help with. Sometimes, it’s not even academic support you need, but emotional support - the team are amazing at what they do and they truly know how to get the best out of their students.
Q. What are you doing now?
A. I am a registered midwife with UHNM. I completed my midwifery training through Keele University, and was employed more or less immediately after qualifying! I am part of the CISM (critical incident support management) team and I am also a Professional Midwifery Advocate which involves further study of a Masters level. Anyone who has any doubts about pursuing their careers goals should just follow their heart. My journey has been incredible and I have developed so many skills that I didn’t even know I had. Sometimes you just have to push yourself out of your comfort zone.
Q. What is your future goal/plan?
A. I would like to do a full Masters course and continue with my learning. However, for me, I just love the actual experience of being a midwife and really want to spend time honing my craft. It is an absolute privilege to be a part of someone’s pregnancy/birthing experience and even though I know there are a million new things to learn, and a million new challenges to face…..this is literally the best job in the world!
Q. Describe your time on the Access course?
A. Gosh, it all came and went so fast! Stressful at the time but when I look back now it was just an enormous part of me becoming a midwife. It is hard to put into words but it literally is life changing! I would not be where I am now without the Access course.
If you've been inspired by Melanie's story, find out more about studying an Access to HE course at Newcastle College.