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Awards of Achievement for Learners - August 2018

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.

Zahida Sherry - Winner August 2018

Zahida Sherry

I am a qualified health visitor from Pakistan. I came to the UK for further study and work. But the problem was, the criteria for working as a health professional is very different in the UK compared to in my home country. It required more skills more knowledge and further education, so I planned further education. There were several barriers to clear to enrol on a degree course, especially the language. I needed at least GCSE grade C in Maths and English and a Level 3 Access to Higher Education Diploma.

I started learning GCSE English and Maths in local colleges, but having a few weeks old child and being ill it was so difficult to manage my home, my family and my studies. Although I tried to enrol directly with local colleges for an Access Diploma, I was unable to afford the costs. I was so upset and confused so was about to give up of thinking about studies.

One day miraculously an internet search changed my life. I discovered DistanceLearningCentre.com which was amazingly a nice solution of my problems. I enrolled immediately for Access to HE Diploma in Allied Health Professions course and studied and enjoyed. I finished the course last year and I am so happy.

I have already received the Diploma and I am ready to start degree in university of my choice which was just a dream in past. In fact, DistanceLearningCentre.com is a wonderful and a life changing facility for people who want to build their career. It has range of courses to choose from, with very friendly and expert tutors who love to help. I really enjoyed having easy access, adequate material for study and frequently answered questions from my own expert tutor. I also liked easy payment solutions. DistanceLearningCentre.com made me feel so lucky.

It is a fantastic, reliable and enjoyable source of virtual study. They helped me to build self-confidence and helped me to transform my future. DistanceLearningCentre.com is a great choice to save time and money. It was not possible for me to achieve this diploma without them. Thank you. (Jun 2018)

Lewis Herring - Winner August 2018

Lewis Herring

Having left school with no A-Levels, I found myself struggling to get back into higher education with no options available to me.

After enrolling with DistanceLearningCentre.com, I wanted to aim high and study at the best university I could. My tutor was really encouraging and helpful. The course and materials were really well structured, with some fascinating modules and I thoroughly enjoyed studying the topics and completing the assignments. The feedback was excellent and helped me achieve the grades I need. Now I'm going to a Russell Group university to study Economics and I couldn't be happier.

I would absolutely recommend DistanceLearningCentre.com to anyone hoping to get back into education! (Jun 2018)

Ella Flowers - Winner August 2018

Ella Flowers

After having spent the majority of my teenage years ill with my mental health, in and out of hospital, and having missed several years of education as a result, I thought that my chances of achieving academically and going to university were over. I'd lost all confidence in myself and didn't feel prepared to start college, nor would I have been able to fit it around my circumstances. I was completely disheartened by all of this as after everything I had been through, I wanted nothing more than to be able to use my experiences to help others in the future as a nurse. I just felt hopeless.

It wasn't until I came across DistanceLearningCentre.com that I came to the realisation that maybe I still did have a chance of accomplishing my goals. After doing some further research, I knew without a doubt that both the expertise and flexibility of DistanceLearningCentre.com would be able to provide me with the assistance and support to secure a Diploma in Health and Social Care in order to start my journey to becoming a Mental Health Nurse, whilst being able to fit it around my life and continue working on my recovery.

When I began the diploma I really started to panic about what I had committed myself to. Was I ready? Was I capable? What if I wasn't able to manage the assignments? How would I stay motivated? There were so many questions running through my head making me doubt my decision. However, with self-motivation, determination, hard-work, and the support of my tutor(s) I can hands down say that starting the Access Course was one of the best decisions of my life. I loved getting back into learning and studying again, putting my head down and working on topics that I enjoyed knowing that I was achieving something and taking steps towards a positive future. Though this Diploma had its challenges and difficulties, I got stuck in and refused to give up trying. 5 months later I had completed the course.

I can not go without saying that I would never have completed my Diploma with the grades I did if it was not for the incredible support from my tutor. I was consistently provided with clear advice and guidance that also encouraged me to take my own initiative and believe in my abilities more. We would look at both my areas of strength and weaknesses in order to develop a good idea on how I can continue improving and working to the best of my ability. I can't thank my tutor enough for the continual support and faith she had in me that aided me in getting where I am today. I've developed upon and learnt so many new skills during my time studying with DistanceLearningCentre.com and am thrilled to have now been given the opportunity to begin my degree in September in Mental Health Nursing at Bangor University.

For anyone considering studying with DistanceLearningCentre.com, I say absolutely go for it, stay positive and believe in yourself. (Jun 2018)

Mustafa Mustafa - Winner August 2018

Mustafa Mustafa

As a single father of two and at the tender age of 38 I decided to change my career and further my education. I had been out of education for a while, after my GCSE's I went on to help my dad run the family business. After researching several options I decided that DistanceLearningCentre.com was the best place for me to do this. I discovered they had very good reviews and feedback from previous students. I was a bit hesitant at first due not having face to face interaction with my tutors but going on the reviews this seemed not to be an issue. Once I enrolled on the course, the assignments started coming in and I enjoyed everything about my time with them. The tutors where friendly, supportive and knowledgeable. They pushed you to achieve your best work and they didn't spoon feed you information just so that you would pass and get a qualification. This was a very important factor as I felt it was preparing me for University.

I have always had an interest for Law, being a student at DistanceLearningCentre.com and doing my Law and Criminology Access Course has made me achieve and fulfil my lifelong dream and ambition of going to University to study Law. It has shown me and my family that you can achieve your goals and dreams in life when you're determined and persistent enough. After completing and passing my course with DistanceLearningCentre.com I have been accepted into three London Universities to study Law. My next step is to continue my education at my chosen London University. I still have a bit of a journey to go, but I truly believe my dreams would have been possible if it wasn't for the support from my tutors. (Jun 2018)

Katie Gleed - Winner August 2018

Katie Gleed

I have always wanted to be a midwife but at the age of 29 I felt it would probably never happen. I didn't have any A levels and thought it would take years to achieve them, I also couldn't afford to give up work to go to college. Doing the Access to Midwifery course with DistanceLearningCentre.com was the best decision I ever made! I was able to continue working full time whilst doing the course from home at my own pace.

During the course I had some difficulties in my life which meant I was struggling to focus and had even considered giving it all up but my tutor encouraged me to continue and helped me to get back on track with my assignment deadlines. She was genuinely interested to see how I'd got on at each stage of the interview process and was as excited as I was to hear I'd been offered a conditional place at the University of the West of England.

Both my tutors helped me to achieve over and above the grades that I needed to meet these conditions and the course gave me the confidence to go to university after being out of education for over 13 years. I'm now due to start university in a few weeks and my dream that once seemed only that is now actually happening!

Thank you so much to everyone at DistanceLearningCentre.com! (Jun 2018)

Wayne Capps - Winner August 2018

Wayne Capps

Living in Gibraltar Access to Higher Education is not readily available, and after leaving my job in the Gaming Industry my dream of becoming a nurse came one step closer to reality after enrolling with DistanceLearningCentre.com.

Having been out of education for nearly 17 years, a return was extremely daunting to me, these doubts were cleared up instantly after my first conversation with my tutor, the website was extremely easy to navigate, and a clear road map was provided to me. Being able to work at my own pace was a massive plus for me.

Being a stay-at-home Dad to a 1-year-old, and a 3-year-old with special needs is a challenge in itself, but thanks to the flexibility, support and great course materials provided I was able to complete my Diploma with top grades in 7 months, fitting my studies around my children.

I will be starting my degree in Adult Nursing at the University of Gibraltar in September feeling more confident than I could have imagined thanks to the confidence I have developed during my time at DistanceLearningCentre.com.

I would highly recommend this experience to anyone looking for a change in career or obtain further education. (Jun 2018)

Cheryl Callaghan - Winner August 2018

Cheryl Callaghan

I decided I wanted to change my career and to go into Physiotherapy but after researching colleges I realised that I had to have an Access Diploma to get a place, this is when the DistanceLearningCentre.com came to light. I found it straight away and applied.

I knew I had to do my Maths again which I found quite difficult, but with the help from my tutor who rang me every week and set me deadlines, I managed to understand and I actually found Maths enjoyable. To get a bit extra support my dad joined in to.

My Biology was my next subject in which once again my tutor was there at a drop of an email and my phone calls were regular, these were arranged around me since I was working full time. My tutors offered me extensions if I needed them as they knew how hard it was to balance work and studies.

Psychology was my last subject and the thought of that, and the amount of detail which is involved was a bit terrifying, but once again with my tutor, she made me feel at ease and gave me support and help when I needed it. This was done by replying to all emails in which I sent and explaining things and also reassuring me about my work. She gave me pointers to achieve the grades I needed.

I decided to change my career to Podiatry, and the tutors were really supportive and explained that this qualification would also get me on to the Podiatry course for which I was very grateful. Without the DistanceLearningCentre.com I wouldn't have been able to achieve my grades and make it to college. (Jun 2018)

Corrine Lisle-Harding - Winner August 2018

Corrine Lisle

I have dreamed of being a vet every since being a little girl, but my parents were adamant I should pursue a vocational course that would get me into the workplace sooner rather than later, so after finishing school, I attended college to study Admin and IT. I disagreed with them and decided that I wanted to go to university, but my options were limited. I was accepted to study Law at the University of Surrey, but sadly I couldn't afford the tuition fees. To say I was disappointed was an understatement, but I put my skills to good use over the next 10 years. I worked and progressed to become an IT Coach, but I felt constantly frustrated that I was not following the right career path for me, and inspired by adopting my first cat, I planned a career change. I initially trained as a dog groomer, before launching a pet grooming, sitting and dog walking business. This business grew from strength to strength and I began further training as a dog trainer and behaviourist. My behaviourist training was very focused on modern scientific research, including emotional neurophysiology and pharmacology, subjects that I found absolutely fascinating, and I knew that in order to pursue them further, I needed to again consider a degree.

I began researching degrees and couldn't quite decide which avenue to pursue, but life has a funny way of forcing decisions! I found out that I was expecting a baby, which gave me the push I needed to apply for my dream degree, a degree in Veterinary Science – I wanted my child to see both of his parents pursuing a career in fields they loved! I contacted the University of Surrey and they confirmed they would consider my application with a Science Access Diploma, suggesting DistanceLearningCentre.com.

I applied and began the course. I was immediately impressed by DistanceLearningCentre.com's organization. They had a process for student enrolment that ensured you were quickly up to speed on the way they do things. I 'met' my tutor on Skype. She was very friendly and helpful, and she talked me through the ILP (Individual Learning Plan), which helps you plan your modules around your time-frame. I started in August and despite my baby being due in mid-September, I was confident I could get several modules completed before he arrived. How wrong I was! I managed just one, and then had to break to ensure that my university application was submitted and my son arrived before I could complete any more. The next few months passed in blur of feeding, night-waking and nappy changes, yet somehow I managed to write an essay as part of my application, attend the interviews and obtain a conditional offer! I was over the moon! The offer conditions stipulated I needed Distinctions though and I knew I wasn't quite ready to achieve this after the birth of Harry, so I put off further studying until Christmas, when I hoped I would have recovered a little more!

I enjoyed the Biology Modules and passed with the needed distinctions. However, juggling baby and studying with little childcare was difficult, and I began to worry about the approaching June Moderation deadline. Sleep deprivation from my new arrival resulted in baby blues, and I struggled with a very difficult chemistry module. My tutor was very encouraging and understanding, she helped me when I needed it and kept in touch just enough to motivate me, without overwhelming (or nagging!) me. I was thrilled when I finally completed Chemistry and received Distinctions, but that left me with just 1 month to complete 3 physics assignments and 1 biology practical. The month whizzed by. I transferred to two new tutors for each subject, both of whom were fabulous, offering constant support throughout and really targeted feedback that helped me improve. It was a real struggle, but I was able to do all of the assignments in time for June moderation, and, most importantly, I achieved Distinctions throughout!

I was so pleased when the results were updated in UCAS and my conditional place to study a degree in Veterinary Medicine was confirmed! I start in two weeks now and I cannot wait. My husband is so proud of me, as are my parents (they came round to my way of thinking!) and Harry will be too I'm sure! Most importantly I am so pleased I am now able to finally pursue my childhood dream of becoming a vet! Thank you DistanceLearningCentre.com! (Jun 2018)

Darrin Carey - Winner August 2018

Darrin Carey

I'm a 32-year-old Detective in full-time employment, currently living at home with my partner. My previous educational experience was attending regular school until 16. I had been away from study for 15 years before enrolling on my access course. I studied Access to Law.

When I decided that I wanted to attend University and pursue further academic study, I looked at the options I had available to me and consulted a variety of resources. I contacted a series of organisations and was immediately struck by the speed and confidence which DistanceLearningCentre.com responded to me, and answered my questions. Reviewing the website, it was professional and had examples of prior testimonials. It also offered a wide range of courses for a competitive price. I wanted to give myself the best chance at succeeding and felt that the way DistanceLearningCentre.com communicated with me prior to signing up was indicative of the service I would receive. This is why I chose them.

Navigating the website was easy and the joining instructions were simple, however, from the moment I started, I knew I had a hill to climb. I had not written an essay before, let alone a critical one and I had never received real academic feedback. The first ungraded units identified the standard of work required to succeed on the course, and the feedback I received at this time was the most important during my study. It gave me the drive to succeed and pointed out where I needed to improve and how I could go about doing it. My tutor will tell you, the concept of "evaluative writing" was alien to me before this course!

Applying for University was a daunting task, but DistanceLearningCentre.com made the process as simple as possible. They provided an excellent guide and my tutor was extremely helpful when structuring my personal statement. I knew I had to submit something that would 'wow' the admissions teams who would be reviewing my account and without DistanceLearningCentre.com and my tutor's kind comments, this may not have been possible.

As I progressed, I found the quality of my work improving. The feedback I was receiving was positive, but the tutors did not let me rest on my laurels. My tutors encouraged me to improve. There were times where I felt confused, but I never felt alone. My tutors were always on hand to answer my questions quickly and the DistanceLearningCentre.com community was brilliant in encouraging me during the tougher times. The community is an extremely important and strong aspect of studying with DistanceLearningCentre.com.

The 'final straight' of my study (January – June) was arguably the most memorable. I was starting to receive offers from Universities and I had applied to, and the moderation date to complete my studies was nearing. Whilst my workload was high, my tutor never put me under any undue stress. I knew my deadlines, I knew I had to complete my work and my tutor me encouraged to do so. Looking back, I probably left it all a little too late and had to complete quite a significant amount of work in that period. I credit my tutor for staying calm and believing in me during this time, without it, I may not have achieved what I did.

Receiving your moderated results is an amazing moment. It is a tangible result of the hard work and dedication you have put in over the previous months. It is also a recognisable qualification, useable in the real world in support of your further studies, or your career.

I see many people ask – Can I attend a "top" University without A-Levels? Studying with DistanceLearningCentre.com, I secured offers from 5 of the best law schools in the country and will be attending the London School of Economics in September to continue my journey. DistanceLearningCentre.com will give you with the tools and platform necessary to achieve what you set your mind to. Put in the hard word and enjoy yourself whilst you do. Before you know it, you'll be taking the next step too! (Jun 2018)

Emma - Winner August 2018

Emma n

When I decided to consider a degree in Midwifery I felt daunted. Not only did I need outstanding grades in my health access course, but I needed to be well prepared for the scientific aspect of the role. I initially doubted that I could raise a toddler, work full-time in an unrelated career, gain the work experience I needed for my personal statement AND achieve the 45 distinctions that my chosen University was asking for.

I knew I'd need a lot of support, and even more flexibility. DistanceLearningCentre.com was immediately recommended to me by many other mature student midwives. Initially a little nervous about online learning, the option to fit my studies around work and home life – at half the cost and time of a college based course - suited me perfectly.

When I began my first unit, I was simultaneously returning to work, full time, following maternity leave. Like so many other mums, I'd completely lost my confidence and was dealing with the guilt of leaving my little boy in child care. Starting my Access course by completing the ungraded units was invaluable. I could test my skills and build up my knowledge without worrying it would impact my final grade. When I started seeing the ungraded unit marks roll in, which suggested that for graded units I would be likely to achieve Distinctions, my self-esteem soared and by the time it came to starting my marked units, I felt I'd really settled into the course. Of course, it wasn't easy – I'd work 10 hour days, spend time with my son, then work into the early hours – but with my tutors on the end of the phone I never felt alone.

Although I was completing my course slowly, I settled well into my new routine well over the first 6 months. I started volunteering in the local postnatal unit and the unit content for my course was so reflective of real life that I found I could apply my learning straight away. Especially units such Ethics and the way they linked into restraint protocols on the ward. Life was busy, I was exhausted, but I carried on maximising the materials and tutor support and really felt I was on a roll.

I was halfway through my course where my resilience was truly tested. Having grown up with my grandma I was determined to spend the 4 harrowing days by her bedside whilst she slowly passed away. Alone and completely unprepared for how undignified and cruel that process would be I left the hospice not only traumatised, but convinced that my midwifery dreams would slip away if I couldn't pull myself together quick enough to complete my course. My fears were my own however, as my tutor was incredibly supportive and flexible to my needs. As I extended deadlines time and time again I thought their patience would waiver, but I never felt under pressure or silly for asking the simplest questions. This came at the same time as the university admissions process – and I had been invited to interviews at all 5 universities. Not only was I desperately grieving, but I was also trying to prepare myself for rounds of weekend interviews for which only 10% of applicants get a place. Again, I was supported in fitting my coursework around these events.

A couple of months later I'd received conditional offers to all the universities I attended and I really got back into the rhythm of the course. Sadly, I was devastated when we were diagnosed with serious fertility issues that turned our family's vision of the future upside down. I felt that, yet again, I was sending apologies to my tutor – but they weren't needed. Rounds of medical appointments ensued but the course was so flexible I could take carry my materials round on my iPad and do my tutorials in the car.

12 months into the course and, as it does, life was getting back on track. I was ready to start flying through to the end of the course. It was in that month, however, that we found out I was pregnant (much to everyone's surprise!). Dubious, but somewhat hopeful, it was a lengthy process which resulted in us losing the baby. Dedication to my access course and future career all hung in the balance. At that moment, I had nothing left to give.

Figuratively speaking, it's no exaggeration when say that my last tutor all but dragged me to the finish line, and I will be forever thankful. When, miraculously I found out I was pregnant again shortly after, but that one of our twins was unlikely to survive, I clung onto the stability the course was offering. Continuing to achieve distinctions helped to start rebuilding my confidence but I was really questioning my ability to carry on delivering.

I am delighted to say that, in the end, it was the kind words and support of my tutors that means my journey finishes on a far happier note. Not only did I finish my Access course within 18 months, but I was awarded 45 Distinctions and a further 15 ungraded Credits. Whilst sadly, one of my twins miscarried shortly after I completed the course, I remain 22 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby. When I looked back I see that I never really gave up on myself and my tutors were always there to reinforce my determination. With my certificate firmly in my hand it leaves me free to pursue my career change and a time that's right for me.

The materials and structure of the Access course were outstanding but it was the flexibility and support from my DistanceLearningCentre.com tutors that really pulled me through. I never felt alone or pressured. No question was too small and no email went unanswered. I will always be grateful to them for their approach in helping me build the foundation for my future career. (Jun 2018)