Success Stories

Shannon Hardie

Shannon, Dulcie and Jasmine

“After I left school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I decided I wanted to go to university, so I applied to go onto the Access to Higher Education course. I originally thought about studying midwifery or nursing at university, but finally decided that I’d rather work with children as I found it more rewarding. After I completed the Access to Higher Education course, I then went on to study ‘Working with Children and Families’ at Cumbria University.

We studied Sociology and academic writing, which really helped me once I went on to study at university. The academic writing module gave me an advantage, because I’d already done it. It also helped me to develop my critical thinking skills and how to back up my arguments with evidence. All of my tutors were really supportive, and helped to point me in the right direction if I had a question.

Overall, it was a really good course. To anyone who’s thinking of studying on the Access course, my advice would be to just do it. It’s a great stepping stone to higher education and it definitely set me up for going to university.”


Mark Cannan

“I studied on the Access to Higher Education course in 2009. I was in the army for 10 years previously, stationed in Afghanistan. It was while I was over there that I decided I wanted to work in the operating theatre, after seeing my friend work in the trauma theatres of Camp Bastion. I’d left school with no GCSEs, so the Access to Higher Education course was the way forward.

By completing this course, I was able to apply to universities and I was accepted to study a diploma in Operating Department Practice at the University of Central Lancashire. It was a three year, full time course, and as part of my studies I split my time working between Whitehaven and Carlisle hospital theatre departments in the various roles of Anaesthetic, Scrub and Recovery practice. I qualified in 2013 and from there, I did a degree in Acute & Critical Care at the University of Cumbria.

I am now studying for my Master’s Degree in Master of Clinical Practice (Advanced Critical Care Practice) at Northumbria University, which means I can take on a more advanced role within the intensive care unit upon completion.

The Access to Higher Education course was fantastic course, which gave me a second chance. For someone who left school with no GCSEs, it really set me up for life. The tutors were fantastic and really supportive, and they taught me how to write for academic purposes which has helped me hugely while studying for my various degrees. I would highly recommend the Access course to anyone who is thinking about getting into higher education, and I cannot thank the college enough for starting me off on my academic and professional journey.”


Ian Todhunter

“I decided to apply for the Access to Higher Education course as it would enable me to apply to universities, so that I could go on to study Mental Health Nursing. We studied a wide variety of subjects on the course, including English, History, Psychology and Sociology. English and History were my favourite subjects. The tutors were great and really supported my learning during my time at Lakes.

I found the course very beneficial as they catered for mature students, such as myself. My advice would be to just go for it – studying on this course allowed me to achieve everything I wanted to achieve and more, and I have no doubt it will help others achieve their goals as well.”


Where will our Access to Higher Education course take you? Find out more and apply today!