First class honours degree for former TCAT student Clair

Published: September 8, 2016

Mature student Clair Drummond has said a big thank-you to Telford College of Arts and Technology for helping her to graduate with a first class honours degree in Health and Social Care.

The 33-year-old, from Malinslee, completed a two-year Foundation Degree at TCAT, before topping it up with a further year at the University of Wolverhampton.

And she said she was grateful to TCAT for giving her a ‘great step onto the higher education ladder’, and supporting her with her dyslexia.

Clair, a former student at Much Wenlock’s William Brookes School, is now working towards a master’s degree, and can register as an approved social worker. This means she can expect to earn up to ¬£25,000 in her first year, rising to around ¬£40,000 if she becomes a social work manager.

It marks the start of an exciting new chapter for mother-of-three Clair, whose previous jobs range from co-ordinating training at fast food chain McDonalds, to giving scuba diving tuition in Malta.

It was when she started looking for jobs in the care sector that she realised she needed to develop her CV and get a professional university-level qualification.

She contacted TCAT after being recommended by a friend, and the college helped her to juggle her studies with the pressures of bringing up her young children – one of which was just eight weeks old when she enrolled.

Student finance allowed her to save a deposit for a house, and covered around 85% of her childcare and nursery costs.

Clair said: “It can be daunting, as you are studying in smaller environment. But these group sizes allow you to learn in a fantastic way – lessons are taught in a classroom, not a theatre!”

Her TCAT tutor Stuart Taylor said: “She came to the Foundation Degree Health and Social Care with a level three NVQ.

“Under normal circumstances, I would have advised her to study on the Access to Higher Education Diploma, which would have given her the necessary academic skills to study on the course.

“However, during interview, Clair convinced me that she was a suitable candidate to start on the course, and from the beginning she displayed an ability to learn very quickly.”

By the end of her two-year TCAT course, Clair had earned a Merit grade and was praised for her very good essay writing and exam skills and ability to contribute meaningfully to class discussions.

Stuart said: “It is excellent to see that this progression continued when she studied on the third year of an Honours Degree at the University of Wolverhampton, and obtained a first class degree.”

Clair’s story shows that you don’t need A Levels to go to university . . . and you don’t need to spend all your time at university to get a degree!
TCAT offers a wide range of HE courses, including Foundation Degrees in topics such as Early Years, Supporting Children in Primary Education, Health and Social Care, Computing, Sports Performance and Coaching, and Art, Design and Media.
On top of this, there are HNC programmes in areas such as Business, Engineering, Computing and Systems Development, and Digital Media Production – all capable of being topped up into a full honours degree with a further year of study.

Photo: Clair Drummond at TCAT