“Starting the Access course was one of my best decisions”

Originally from Kurdistan, Northern Iraq, Shokhan Hasan moved to the UK in August 2010 to get married. As an Anaesthetic Nurse in Kurdistan, Shokhan moved to Cardiff. Speaking only Kurdish, Shokhan was determined to learn English initially, to enable her to continue to study.

“Starting the Access course was one of my best decisions”

In 2016 Shokhan enrolled to study at Cardiff and Vale College (CAVC) at Level 2 on the Skills for Further Study Diploma, then, to develop her English skills further, Shokhan progressed to the Access to Health Sciences diploma on a part-time basis. 

Shokhan describes her time at CAVC:

“I wouldn't be where I am today without all the teachers and staff in the CAVC. I still remember all the kind support and encouraging words they gave me whenever I struggled. I had lots of extremely difficult times during these years of my studies. Life always has unpredictable events for me.”

In 2018, Shokhan received the devastating news that both her parents and her parents in law had passed away. Her positive and optimistic outlook on life carried Shokhan through her grief and to continue her studies to achieve her ambitions.

Throughout her studies Shokhan juggled looking after 2 young children, volunteering at a children’s hospital and managing her Access assignment during the toughest 2 years, following the pandemic. Despite these challenges, Shokhan never missed a deadline or a lesson. Her attitude towards her studies and future career is exemplary.  

During her 2nd year of studies on Access, Shokhan became pregnant, and continued with the same grit and determination. She continued to study and only missed two weeks of lessons after the birth of her baby. She coped admirably with an intensive course, alongside home-schooling her two young children during the pandemic and caring for a newborn – all the while with a smile on her face.

During this time Shokhan was also trying to cope with postnatal depression and still managed to submit excellent assignments on time. 

Shokhan talks about her experience:

“Studying in a second language is not an easy task, and it can create lots of barriers. Moreover, having small children and lacking family support can complicate life, especially when living abroad.

However, starting the Access course was one of my best decisions - my goal was to achieve enough distinctions to start university.

I am pleased to say that despite all of the hardships and challenges I have faced, I achieved thirty-six distinctions and nine merits.”

Shokhan studied the Access to Higher Education Diploma at CAVC, her tutors, Julie Pritchard and Sal Willetts, who nominated Shokhan for the Agored Cymru Learner of the Year Award say:

“Shokhan is a very determined and dedicated person and student. She first started studying with us at level 2 on the Skills for Further Study Diploma. Shokhan would spend hours translating assignments across a broad spectrum of subjects to meet deadlines and successfully complete the diploma. To develop her English skills further, Shokhan progressed to the Access to Health Sciences diploma on a part-time basis. “

“English is not Shokhan’s first language and over the duration of her studies her grasp of the English language improved, and by the end of the year she produced some excellent assignments, developing her skills extensively in the process.”

Shokhan is now a mother of three, working as a care assistant and has applied for Adult Nursing.




Congratulations once again to Shokhan Hasan for her hard work during her studies. Agored Cymru recognises your drive and dedication and is thrilled to have been able to play a part in your journey into your desired career. We wish you the best of luck and success in your future.


Agored Cymru develops, approves and monitors Access to Higher Education Diplomas.

We work with centres to offer a wide range of Access to HE Diplomas from Bioscience to Social Care.

Go here to see the full list of Agored Cymru Access to Higher Education Diplomas.

We are licensed Access Validating Agency and are regulated by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA).

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