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Gemma (Access to HE Nursing)

Gemma Allcott, a mum of two from Shipston-on-Stour, was inspired to enroll in an Access to Higher Education Nursing and Midwifery programme at Banbury and Bicester College after working eight years in recruitment.  

Gemma felt like something was missing in her career, and wanted to make a difference to people’s lives. In 2016, she began working as a carer for the elderly, first within the community and later at a residential care home. 

During this time, Gemma’s desire to become a nurse was cemented. She decided to progress further in her new career, and sought the qualifications to do so at Banbury and Bicester College.  

Gemma enrolled on an Activate Learning Access to Higher Education Nursing and Midwifery programme, while continuing to care for her children and work alongside her studies.  

Gemma commends the support of her tutors and their teaching methods, she said: “I had the support of fantastic tutors and the Access to HE was tailored to the future profession I wanted to be a part of. 

“I learnt so many useful lessons that I will take forward, not only to university, but also through life. This programme taught me all of the practical skills I needed, such as essay writing, Harvard referencing, planning, research skills and presenting to people.  

“It also taught me life lessons such as how to communicate, how to critically analyse and ultimately, helped shape the personal values that I will take with me into my nursing career.” 

Gemma says that her daughters are the driving force behind her hard work and dedication to her former studies, “it keeps me going everyday knowing that one day, my girls, will be proud and inspired to work hard, and that they will be able to achieve everything that they desire in life.” 

Gemma believes the programme to have changed her life and is excited to progress to university study. When asked about her experience on the programme, she said:  

“I enjoyed every aspect of the programme, the lessons, the tutors, the new friends and even the assignments. I came with an open mind that was ready to soak up knowledge and learn. Although support is available from tutors, online and in the library, you need to be self-motivated and ensure you are organised and possess excellent time-management skills. The workload is heavy at times and you need to be prepared to work hard and plan your time efficiently in order to have a stress free and enjoyable experience!” 

Gemma added: “I could not recommend the Access to HE programmes more, they offer a fantastic insight into academic life. For someone that had not been in education for 15 years, it has helped me to uncover some rusty skills!  

"The subjects were relevant, insightful and a pleasure to learn. The tutors at Banbury and Bicester College deliver the content in an interactive, informative and professional way that is catered for everybody’s learning style.”  

Gemma has accepted an offer to study Adult Nursing at Oxford Brookes University.