Hartlepool dad of five achieves his university dream

Student Jamie Alderson with  Access to Higher Education Co-ordinator Karin Herbener.
Student Jamie Alderson with Access to Higher Education Co-ordinator Karin Herbener.

A young Hartlepool dad has excelled to complete his first term at Durham University.

Dad-of-five Jamie Alderson struggled with his education after his GCSEs coincided with him starting a family.

Despite this Jamie, 26, was determined to become a role model for his children and so jumped at the chance to enrol on a higher education course at Hartlepool College of Further Education.

He said: “I wanted to lead by example and my main stumbling block was my education.

“My sister had heard about a course delivered by Hartlepool College, so I went in and enquired.”

Jamie, who is single, enrolled on the Access to Higher Education Diploma course in Humanities and Social Sciences, an eight-month intensive course that awards the equivalent of five A-levels.

Thanks to the course, Jamie’s hard work was rewarded when he was offered a place at Durham University in Stockton to study psychology after finding an interest in the subject during his Access to Higher Education Course.

He continued: “Don’t get me wrong, it was really hard at first, I had to push myself to get up to speed with my English and maths but the functional skills course really catered for me and the lecturers were always on hand to help.

“Not only does the course help you get your A-levels, but it also prepares you for university, helping you apply and also create your personal statement.

“In fact it was this time last year I started getting my university offers from Teesside, Sunderland, Northumbria and Durham.”

The college offers five different Access to Higher Education courses including the Health Diploma, Humanities and Social Sciences, Educational Studies, Computing and Applied Law, as well as functional skills courses for those without any qualification in English and maths.

Access to Higher Education Co-ordinator Karin Herbener said: “I’m so proud of Jamie and what he’s achieved in just one year.

“You would not believe the change in him since completing the course.

“The courses are great for people who maybe didn’t do so well the first time around at school but now want to go into higher education.

“Instead of two years studying for A-levels, students can do an eight-month intensive course and come out with the equivalent of 5 A-levels and a place at university.”