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The Fab 5 Awards August 2016

For outstanding achievement on DistanceLearningCentre.com Access to Higher Education Diplomas, whether academic or personal.

The Awards are open to any student who achieves a full Access to Higher Education Diploma with DistanceLearningCentre.com. One set of Awards are made in August each year.

Award winners won back the full cost of their Access Diploma course fees in recognition of their exceptional achievements.

Katie Dutton - Winner August 2016

Katie Strong

My DistanceLearningCentre.com journey started with the in April/May 2014, I got off to a great start with everything, completing most of my psychology modules at distinction. I was working full-time as a HCA in a London Cancer Hospital, so I was constantly tied up with work, commuting and studying, but I knew distance learning would be the only way I could achieve my dream of being a urology specialist nurse.

In 2015 I was admitted into hospital 3 times with septicaemia and eventually they found a hole in my bladder (fistula) which was constantly poisoning my abdomen. I found this out in the August after many invasive tests, and I was struggling to get my coursework completed, I thought I'd never get through the course. My tutor explained study break to me, and I took this opportunity to rest and try to get well again. I spent the duration of the study break in hospital, and a large amount of time in ITU; my husband was called to the hospital at one stage because they thought I wouldn't make it through the night. Luckily I did, and in December last year I went to theatre and had my bladder completely removed.

Since my operation I've gone from strength to strength, and I now have an internal reconstructed bladder made from bowel tissue (neobladder) thanks to UCLH. In February I started working on my assignments again, my tutor was really supportive and would call to explain things I couldn't understand. I was determined to finish the course and somehow managed to achieve merits and distinctions on all graded assignments.

I will always be grateful to DistanceLearningCentre.com, and the tutors that stood by me and helped me through a very difficult year. Without them I wouldn't be off to university in September to start my nursing degree. There were times when I lost faith, I thought it was too much work and I thought I wasn't clever enough. To anybody that's starting with DistanceLearningCentre.com, my advice would be to keep the finish line in mind and when things get tough, hold on to the reason you're doing it- YOU will get there, no matter how many obstacles stand in your way!

Jan 2017 update: ? Katie accepted an offer from De Montfort University in Leicester and will start her BSc in Adult Nursing in February.

Jade England - Winner August 2016

Jade England

After working in childcare as a nursery nurse for a few years I decided to follow my dreams and look into pursuing a career in Midwifery. Although I already had a degree I felt I needed to brush up on my knowledge in Midwifery related subjects but couldn't afford to give up my full time job to go to college. I came across DistanceLearningCentre.com and was really impressed with the Access to Midwifery course they offered. The flexibility of the course allowed me to continue working full time and study and the monthly payment plan made the course more affordable for me.

To start with I was nervous about starting the course as I had no experience with distance learning but my worries were soon put to rest. The support given from my tutors was amazing. If I ever had a query they would respond quickly and always provided useful and constructive feedback. I was able to learn how to organise my time and learn independently ready for university study. My writing and researching skills developed and I managed to gain more than the minimum distinctions required for each of my chosen universities. My first tutor provided support and guidance with applying through UCAS and writing my personal statement and I managed to secure a place at two of my chosen Welsh universities to study Midwifery.

I am so grateful for the help and support my tutors and DistanceLearningCentre.com has given me and would definitely recommend the company to family and friends who want to study through distance learning. I have enjoyed every second of the course and I cannot wait to continue pursuing my dream career in September!

Jan 2017 update: - Jade received offers from two Welsh universities and is now studying Midwifery at the University of South Wales. She is just finishing her first placement block and has thoroughly enjoyed every second of the course so far. "I can't wait to see what exciting experiences the rest of my time as a student Midwife will bring!"

Martin Harvey - Winner August 2016

Martin Harvey

I got to a point in my life where I'd been in the same industry for 25 years and began contemplating a career change. I'd been out of education for almost 30 years, but I had established that gaining a degree was going to open the door into my 'second career'. Gaining an access diploma was part of 'the plan' I formulated. I felt nervous about returning to learning and study after such a long break. The negative impact upon my limited time, and the muddled financing in accessing the qualifications I would require at 'bricks and mortar colleges' made me look at other well regarded providers and after some research I came across DistanceLearningCentre.com and signed up.

Over the past few months I started and completed my Access to Science (option 1) Diploma through DistanceLearningCentre.com. I shall not pretend to you that it's been easy; at 46 years of age there are so many reasons life gets in the way. I had a demanding full time job whilst studying, my wife is a full time student in the second year of her degree, our children are teenagers, both at different ends of the autistic spectrum. Juggling all of these factors whilst trying to schedule opportunities to study has challenged my time management skills to the extreme! I have gained so many academic and organisational skills from this management of time and priority; experience, which I know, will equip me for full time university study.

I would certainly recommend DistanceLearningCentre.com to others. The quality of the tutors (including their patience with me) and the supporting materials provided, have exceeded my initial expectations. Since overcoming my nervousness at the start I have succeeded in obtaining grades which greatly exceed those required to get onto my chosen degree.

Peer-to-peer interactions with other students using the official forums and Facebook group are encouraged and I consider that these interactions have greatly enhanced my learning experience ? there is almost always someone to chat with / ask for help / give help to - and I'm sure I've made some good friends along the way.

So if you're 'stuck in a rut' and thinking you'd missed out on the career you really wanted ? it's not too late ? you can do something about it ? you can get qualifications or head to university and improve your quality of life and career chances. Signing up to DistanceLearningCentre.com has been a great decision, my 'second career' is in sight as I am just weeks away from the beginning my first semester at university. It will be 28 years later than I ever expected, however I am so much more prepared for it now than I ever anticipated, thanks to my study with DistanceLearningCentre.com.

Jan 2017 update: - Martin started a University course in 2016 however he has reported that the course had not met up to expectations and is looking at changing courses for 2018. "Even though you think you know what you wanted to do having selected and passed the access course, you may still find that the reality of what you thought you wanted to study is different. However, with the fact that the access course you passed will meet entry requirements for many other degrees - there are still options open to you to change. Although I am not happy with my course, the university experience per se is worth the effort, so do not give up on the dream - even if the dream is now different!"

Maria Kirk - Winner August 2016

Maria Kirk

When I started studying Access to Midwifery with DistanceLearningCentre.com I was very nervous; I hadn't studied for several years and was very unsure of my ability to complete the course to a acceptable level.

During my time on the course I have had several different tutors and each one has been absolutely fantastic. They have all been very approachable, taken the time to explain things in detail and given support when needed; this has enabled me to finish the course with mostly Distinctions, which will stand me in very good stead for obtaining a university place to study my Midwifery Degree.

Thank you to each and every one of you, and I won't hesitate to recommend DistanceLearningCentre.com to people in the future.

Leanne McKie - Winner August 2016

Leanne McKie

I was one of the naughty ones at school. I wasn't ready to knuckle down and take life and studying seriously. And as some of you may well know, I came out of school with no qualifications and was told to set my career goals to the dazzling heights of the hosiery industry. School had knocked the confidence out of me and I believed that I was just not suited to academia. With this knowledge I resigned myself to a life of manual jobs and bar work. Luckily my break came when I worked my way up through work based training within health care. I went from being care worker within a residential home, to an NHS healthcare /rehab assistant and then to being a therapy support worker supporting occupational therapists and physios on a very busy oncology ward.

I never thought that one day I would be able to qualify as an occupational therapist and that academically and financially it was way out of my reach. But by having done well at most of my in work training and getting very complimentary feedback from colleagues about my progress, I thought hang on, I might actually be able to do this.

I searched online and found DistanceLearningCentre.com. I contacted the college and they advised me which courses I needed to take and to also look into relevant universities that taught occupational therapy and what qualifications I needed in order to study there. My tutors gave me a welcome telephone tutorial to let me know what was expected of me which gave me a boost in confidence, they also answered all of my questions no matter how small or daft and gave me the encouragement I needed to make me believe that I could complete my course.

I found out that there was a possibility that funding would be cut on my chosen degree, so I thought I would apply for the intake for 2016 and cut my deadline for finishing my access course and 2 GCSEs from 12 months to 8 months. As well as working a full time job, I would study during my lunch break, after work every night and every weekend. My social life (and even exercising) had to take a back seat for a while in order for me to be super focused, I didn't even have time to read a book. It was all worth it as I managed to hand my final assessment in a few weeks before moderation. I had been offered a conditional place at Coventry University and had hit all the desired merits and distinctions necessary.

This time last year I never thought that I would be in this position and I will be eternally grateful for all the encouragement from all my tutors, family, friends and colleagues who believed in me more than I believed in myself.