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Liam (Access to HE)

Liam Jones was inspired to enroll on an Access to Higher Education Engineering and Physical Science programme at Reading College after losing enjoyment in his career as a pharmacy technician.

Liam felt like he had “hit a brick wall” and began looking at other career options with a desire to study once more. After extensive research, Liam decided that an Access to HE programme at Reading College suited him best. 

Liam said: “I attended an Open Event and was impressed straight away. Getting to sit down with two teachers of the pathway I was interested in was a great help. Being able to ask specific questions about course content, workload etc. enabled me to gain a greater understanding of what I would be signing up for.” 

He added: “Being out of education for 10 years was my biggest worry regarding applying. But, after speaking to teachers and the Access to HE lead that night, I was confident that I would be well supported. The financial benefit of having your loan for the year wiped off after completion of a degree was an attractive element.”  

After the conversation, Liam enrolled on the Access to HE Engineering and Physical Science programme, adamant to make his career change at Reading College. He commended the knowledge he received during his programme, as well as the preparation and support he received when applying to university.  

“Obviously, my knowledge in physics, chemistry and mathematics increased greatly in this year. Having the opportunity in physics and chemistry to do a graded assignment of a topic of your choosing was interesting.  

“My physics work on sound waves did not go according to plan (for a long time!). So, I had to think outside the box, problem solve and adjust. That problem-solving experience will serve me well in university I feel.” 

Liam thrived while at college, enjoying the environment, facilities and ease of commuting to the Reading College Kings Road campus.  

“There were always people around campus which gave it a buzz and a good atmosphere. You felt secure and safe every day, receiving a cheery hello from the college security manager as you came in. 

“For me not living in Reading the transport links were a big draw. The train station’s only a 15-minute stroll away and the bus stop stopping just outside meant I never had to contend with Reading’s one-way nightmare.” 

Liam made new friends and felt challenged academically throughout his programme. He said: “I met some great people. The year is an intense one, with a lot of work, but this intensity leads to each day coming away having learnt something new or being made to really think about things that did not even cross your mind before is really enjoyable.” 

When asked would he recommend an Access to HE programme at Activate Learning, he added: “I’d say 100% go for it. It is a lot of work and it is best to stay on top of it, but I thoroughly enjoyed my year at Reading College. It has opened doors that I would have never had a chance at walking through before and if you think you cannot do it, you can!” 

On the successful completion of his programme, Liam decided to progress to university. Liam concluded: “After I have completed my degree, I am leaning towards completing a masters in genetic engineering and then hopefully find a job working for a biotech company either in a researching role or as a genetics counsellor. As it is a growing field globally, I am hoping to be able to find a job in the USA or Asia.” 

Liam is currently studying Biomedical Engineering at Kings College London.