A mum-of-two who thought she’d never get into university without A-Levels has joined her husband in studying at Wrexham Glyndwr University to build a new career.
34-year-old Rebecca Smith, of Penyffordd, only discovered that she could follow her dream of gaining a degree based on her work experience after visiting one of the institution’s Open Days with her partner Tom Smith.
Both are now studying at Wrexham Glyndwr University at the same time while raising their two children, aged seven and five. Tom is studying for a BSc (Hons) Construction Management and Rebecca working towards a BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance.
Former Elfed High School and Deeside College pupil Rebecca was accepted on to the course based on her varied work and life experience. This has included spells as a beauty therapist, an administrator with the RAF and three years working in the hospitality industry in Cyprus.
Immediately prior to joining Wrexham Glyndwr University she ran her own cleaning company for two-and-a-half years.
“My grandma was an accountant and I always used to help her out with tasks when I was little,” said Rebecca. “So it’s something I’ve always been interested in but held back from doing because I didn’t have the qualifications. I assumed you needed A-Levels and a degree.
“I found out about the foundation year here and have never looked back. I wanted to do something for myself now that my children are in full-time education and the course here fits perfectly around family life. I’m already thinking about studying for a Masters after I’ve finished my degree.”
Studying full-time at the same time as her husband has proved beneficial as they’re able to share experiences. The scheduling of timetables and deadlines also means they can maintain a good balance between study and time with the family.
“My eldest son has autism, which brings extra challenges and pressures, but the university are always supportive and flexible,” added Rebecca.
“I was very very nervous before I started as I didn’t know if my English was up to standard and I was worried about the prospect of completing assignments.
“The support services here are really amazing though – every day I get an email of some sort offering help with the academic side of things.”
Eventually Rebecca hopes to become a Management Accountant, while Tom has his sights set on a career as a surveyor.
She added: “It’s been a life-changing experience and I’m so glad I did it. I never thought I’d be able to celebrate putting on a cap and gown at graduation but in a few years’ time that could be me.
“At 34 you think you are too old to go to university and change career but you are not. So many people out there think they are too old or that they can’t study for a degree but I’m proof that anyone can.”