Long held ambitions of becoming a midwife have moved a step closer for Redcar mum, Alison.

A return to the classroom has given her the step up she needed to secure her place on the highly competitive university course.

Now, her efforts have been further recognised, as one of 19 Redcar and Cleveland College students to receive one of the college’s sought-after Celebration of Achievement Awards.

Starting her studies at 50, Alison admits that it did feel like an “it’s now or never moment,” when she enrolled on the One Awards Access to Higher Education in Health course at the college.

“Because of my age it felt a bit like a last chance saloon, but I bit the bullet and decided to do something I had been thinking about for years,” she said.

Previously working in human resources management, Alison took a career break when her children were young.

Now they are 15 and 21, she said: “I felt I had more time and flexibility to do something I wanted to do.”

Choosing a part-time course at the college meant that she could fit her studies around her family life.

And after years out of the classroom, she said the Access to Higher Education in Health course, helped to get her back into the swing of higher-level learning.

“It was daunting at first because I didn’t know what to expect. I wondered if everyone else was going to be really young,” she said.

Finding the class was made up of a real mix of people and ages, she said: “We had such a good group, we all looked after each other and helped one another out along the way and the tutors and staff were so supportive.”

While the lockdowns impacted on the course, with some learning moving online, Alison, now 51, said: “For me I had been out of education for so long, I didn’t know what to expect anyway. Just to be learning again reminded me that I have a brain and I can use it.”

Now off to study midwifery at Teesside University, she said: “It’s scary but I’m also really excited about it.”

And as for receiving the college award, named Access to Higher Education Student of the Year, she added: “I was just surprised to even have my name put forward. I have enjoyed coming into college and have discovered that I can still learn. When I heard I had won I was excited and quite proud of myself!”

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