University undergraduate Charlene Townsend has shown that anything is possible with determination and lots of help from your friendly local FE College.

Charlene says: “I left school at 16 and spent my life drifting from job to job and never finding any satisfaction. I had always pondered how different my life would have been if I had gone to university but thought I had missed my chance.” 

Having signed up to a GCSE in English at Tresham College she then joined the Access to University course there studying part-time towards an HE Diploma in Access to Humanities.

“I regained confidence in myself and recognised that I could achieve if I just worked hard and to the best of my abilities, not comparing myself to others,” added Charlene.

During her course life took challenging turns when Charlene became pregnant and homeless. But despite her difficulties she continued with her course. 

Said her lecturer Debby Broderick: “She brought her new born son, Jamahi, to college and was determined to complete her qualification and reach her high level of potential. It has been very rewarding to accompany Charlene on her inspirational journey and we saw in her the life-transforming power of learning through an Access course.”

Charlene now aged 30, lives in Northampton and is a student at Northampton University studying a BA Hons in Childhood and Youth Studies.

She was recognised in an awards ceremony on December 5th by the Cambridge Access Validating Agency (CAVA) where she was the runner-up in the Keith Fletcher Access to HE award for Outstanding Commitment to Study. 

“On the Access course I found friendships that will last a life time among my peers and my tutors. When times were hard both in the academic world and the real world I knew there was always a friendly ear to listen and offer support or advice. I found a passion for history, psychology and even English, something I never thought I would say. I finished my course feeling prepared to take the next step on to university and on to a new life.”

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