Mature Student from Swansea Proves Determination and Hard Work Really Does Pay Off
33-year-old mother-of-three, Vicki Brooke (née Gooden) from Swansea, found the confidence and determination to go back to college to pursue her dream of becoming a midwife.
Having left school with few GCSEs, for many years Vicki believed that she would be 'stuck' doing jobs she didn't want to do, while juggling the daily demands of being a parent on a low income.
It was whilst working in a local nursing home that Vicki started to look into how she could train to become a midwife.
Vicki said, "I have always really loved working with people. It wasn't until I agreed to be my sister's birthing partner that I knew that becoming a midwife was something that I really wanted to do."
Despite the lack of confidence and nerves, Vicki enrolled on to a twelve-week pre-access course at the Gower College Swansea before starting an Agored Cymru Access to Higher Education Diploma in Health Care. This Diploma provides opportunities to progress to higher education to study nursing, midwifery and a wide range of other subjects related to the health professions.
Vicki said, "It wasn't an easy decision to leave my full-time job and go back to college as a mature student.
"I didn't have any confidence. The only qualifications I had were a few GCSEs and a QCF qualification in Health and Social Care, which I did whilst working at the nursing home.
"I had to learn to read and understand academic text, give presentations and speak in public.
"But the biggest challenge was juggling my family life and studying full-time."
However, with the support of her tutors and an 'exceptionally positive, professional and well organised attitude', Vicki excelled.
Rhian Ellis, Vicki's tutor, said, "As her tutor, I have got to know Vicky quite well over the year. In often challenging personal circumstances, Vicki remained positive, calm and pragmatic.
"Her exceptional effort and attitude has paid off in terms of outstanding achievement.
"Vicki has remarkable potential. I'm so glad she chose our college to help her achieve her route to university. She has been a real asset to the course."
In 2015, Vicki gained her Agored Cymru Diploma in Health Care and was awarded runner-up in the Agored Cymru Access to Higher Education Learner of the Year Awards for 'Outstanding Academic Achievement'.
Vicki said, "This experience has not only given me new opportunities but also confidence both academically and professionally.
"My driving force has come from my desire to attain a career in the competitive field of Midwifery and also to achieve a better life for myself and my family.
"It was definitely worth the struggle. I am now applying to University to do a degree in Midwifery."