Jeni Knight always wanted to be a forensic scientist, but dropped out of school with no qualifications and ended up going in a different direction.
Now, thanks to an Access to Higher Education science course at Telford College, her career dreams are back on track.
“I saw a road sign outside the college one day advertising the Access to HE courses, and decided to apply,” said Jeni, who lives in Nantwich.
“I didn’t start the course planning to progress on to university – initially I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.
“It was my tutors who made me believe I was capable of so much more than just getting a qualification. They made me realise my potential, and that university was a very attainable path I could follow.”
Before enrolling at Telford College, Jeni was self-employed, running a catering business. Now, a forensic science career is back in her sights, and she has moved on to study criminology at Keele University.
“I dropped out of school with no qualifications, but at 42, I decided to give education another go,” said Jeni, originally from Hertfordshire.
“The access course is worth it just for the sense of achievement you feel when it’s finished. The tutors gave me such a confidence boost which really made me feel like I could achieve everything they were encouraging me to.
“They make everyone feel like they can be someone and do something important with their future.
“To anyone considering the access course, I’d say believe in yourself. It’s not as daunting as you first believe – going back into education is brilliant at Telford College.
“The support from the tutors will make you realise what you are capable of. College feels like a community, so don’t let age put you off.”
After university, Jeni says she would like to either work in a prison, support victims of crime, or be a detective.
Jay Patel, who was one of her lecturers at Telford College, said: “Jeni has been amazing and inspirational.
“The progression from when she started, nervous and uncertain, to the confident and outgoing person she has become, has been fantastic to see.”
Telford College offers three access to higher education pathways – Social Science, Science, and Health Professionals.
Enrolment is now under way for the next round of courses. More details can be found at www.telfordcollege.ac.uk