Official: Merthyr Tydfil students are first class
22 July 2011
Five students from Merthyr Tydfil have graduated from the University of Glamorgan with First Class Honours Degrees in Business and Management. All are mature students who were completing their degrees part-time, several of them whilst holding down full-time jobs. They all started their learning journey at Merthyr Tydfil College where they completed HNC Business Studies before progressing to the Foundation Degree and then onto the Degree top-up.
Gerwyn Lewis aged 38 currently works for Rhondda Cynon Taf Borough Council. He has recently been promoted and believes this is partly due to his enhanced qualifications and the skills he has gained through studying. Gerwyn says he was not academic in school but he feels that life skills are a great asset for mature students. Gerwyn says: “I would encourage anyone to give studying a go as you don’t know if you can do it until you try.”
Lesley-Blackburn Jones has overcome health problems to achieve her dream and complete her degree. Lesley believes you are never too old to study and she is now considering going on to study a Masters Degree. Lesley said: “I’m very proud and I think this is a huge achievement for us all. We could not have done it however without the support of our tutors; they were extremely helpful, approachable and not at all intimidating as I had thought they might be.”The youngest of the group, Rachel Thomas is going on to further study to enable her to fulfil her ambition to teach. Rachel has proved she has an aptitude for learning and hopes to build a new career encouraging others to take the step into education.
Carol Peeke is manager for a children’s charity in Aberdare. Carol says the business aspects of the course have helped in her job and now she has a bug for studying, she is also considering completing a Masters Degree after a well-deserved break. As with all five students, Carol felt that she benefitted from studying locally at Merthyr Tydfil College as the convenience of studying close to home helped her juggle work and family commitments. She says the college also played a big role in building her self-confidence and preparing her for university study.
Having left school with few qualifications, Paula Davies worked in various roles locally. Paula gave up her job to fulfil her goal of obtaining a degree and is therefore thrilled with her First class achievement. Paula says: “It has not been just about the qualification but also about my desire to build a better life and to demonstrate to my children that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.”.
Professor Gary Packham, an entrepreneurship expert and head of the University of Glamorgan Business School said: “This exceptional group of students demonstrate what can be achieved when you’re committed to reaching a goal. They are fantastic role models for anyone thinking of studying higher education whether it’s at a local college or on campus. Congratulations to them all.”
People in Merthyr Tydfil and across the Valleys region are being encouraged to study higher education by UHOVI (Universities Heads of the Valleys Institute). UHOVI is all about providing access to higher education locally to help improve the skills and qualifications of the local workforce. The range of courses on offer has grown substantially for 2011/12 with short or longer courses available in a number of subject areas, all tailored to meet the needs of existing or growing industries. Backed by the Welsh Government, UHOVI is a strategic partnership between the University of Glamorgan and University of Wales, Newport. For more information call 0800 1223 220 or visit www.uhovi.ac.uk
Left to right: First Class Degree students Paula Davies, Gerwyn Lewis, Rachel Thomas, Lesley Blackburn-Jones and Carol Peeke.
Back to news list