STUDENTS who were given a second chance to pursue the career of their dreams have celebrated successfully completing their access courses at Swindon College.

Around 125 students with an average age of 28 held a special event at the Old Bank to celebrate the past nine months of hard work.

The courses – which ranged from nursing, midwifery and physiotherapy to social work, law and forensic computing – have enabled many of the students to develop the grades and achieve the qualifications they need to go on to university.

This is despite many of the students, who come from a range of different backgrounds, not achieving the qualifications the first time round, or maybe not having the opportunity before.

Teresa Woolf, curriculum area manager for access health and social care, who organised the celebratory event, said: “Many learners who come on the access courses are people who didn’t get the qualifications they needed in the past for whatever reason. It might be because they had children at quite a young age and so didn’t achieve their qualifications, it might be because they chose the wrong A-levels for where they want to go, or it could be that they were made redundant and want a career change but haven’t the necessary grades.

“It’s a bit like a second chance for some of them, and for others its a second chance where they didn’t really have the first.”

Many of this year’s cohort have gone on to university, and everyone who applied achieved their first choice place.

University destinations included Cardiff, Bournemouth, Southampton, Oxford Brookes, UWE, Gloucester and several in London.

Teresa said: “It’s a nine month course and it’s really, really hard work and very intense, which means that in the past they finish the course and they don’t know what to do with themselves. Sometimes we have people coming back into college because they have been so used to coming in everyday.

“This is why I wanted a sort of celebratory event to finish it all off.

“Because it’s so intense all the students get very close as well, and make good friends with each other. Many of them go on to the same university as well, so it’s good that they can get to know each other and continue to encourage each other at university.”

During the celebratory event, the students all received certificates from Teresa and had an opportunity to say their goodbyes.

Teresa said: “I’m so proud of them. I always am. They have done so well.”