Local mum of two, Kelly Sheppard, was among the Bath College students who recently celebrated a place at university as a result of completing the Access to Higher Education Programme at Bath College.

The programme provides students with a nationally recognised qualification and an alternative career pathway for those who want to study at university. It has proved particularly popular with parents who are starting to consider their options for career development and job satisfaction, which is often triggered when their children start to become more independent or leave the family nest.

Kelly, 38, studied for the Access to Higher Education science qualification, taking classes in chemistry, biology, physics and higher maths. She received two offers for university, and has decided to study cellular molecular medicine at the University of Bristol.

She explained, “I decided to apply after years of regretting the decision not to pursue sciences after GCSE. I had been a stay at home mum for 10 years while doing the admin and accounts for my husband’s business.

“It’s an extremely intense course, but with that comes a huge amount of satisfaction when you complete a piece of work. It has really boosted my confidence and opened my eyes to what I can achieve.

“I had applied for many entry level jobs within research laboratories and had been unsuccessful. Now I’m so glad this was the case because it pushed me to go and get a degree level qualification.

“My dream would be to progress to a PhD after my degree, which will open up a whole world of opportunities for me.”

Bath College Principal Laurel Penrose explained, “Our Access to Higher Education students who are parents work hard to balance studying with family life, and our tutors are here to support them with this. Some parents even find that studying English, maths and science has an added advantage, helping them to encourage their children with their homework and education at school.

“The course has an added advantage of introducing individuals to a group of like-minded people, who are often in similar positions. Friendships are formed that continue long after the course is completed and students have moved on. The majority of students progress into higher education in a wide variety of subjects including law, medicine, engineering and teaching at a wide variety of universities throughout the country.

“It truly is a life changing experience that opens doors to future careers and opportunities.”

For more information on the Access to Higher Education courses available at Bath College, click here.