54 year-old Tony Gardiner thanks Middlesbrough College for igniting the spark within him and helping him to discover his passion for education.
Tony left school at 16 with only four qualifications and went straight into manual employment. At age 54, Tony had worked in over 30 different jobs but had never found one that he loved.
This changed when Tony enrolled onto a Level 1 Adult Health & Social Care course at Middlesbrough College.
Tony said “I knew that I wanted a change of career so I decided to enrol onto an Adult Health & Social Care course at Middlesbrough College as I loved helping people and wanted to see if I could have a career doing this. It was when I was studying my Level 1 course that I became interested in learning again and I decided to pursue this further.”
2 years ago, Tony decided to take his education to the next level and enrolled onto an Access to Higher Education Diploma in Humanities and Social Sciences at Middlesbrough College. Now, Tony is studying for a Sociology degree at the prestigious Durham University and has big plans for his future!
Tony said “I would 100% recommend studying for the Access to Higher Education Diploma. I have to say that the teaching is outstanding at Middlesbrough College. My tutors were incredibly supportive and I want to personally thank every single staff member who taught me as they did so much for me.
“The Access to HE diploma has developed my skill set and prepared me well for University. I was given everything I needed and more to succeed, and I am still in shock to have received distinctions for my final result- the highest grade you can achieve!
“Whilst studying I also worked part-time in a nursing home and as a support worker, working with people who have learning difficulties and mental health issues. It was fantastic to be able to work in the sector whilst studying for my qualification.
“I’m now studying for a Sociology degree at Durham University and enjoying learning more about a subject I’m passionate about. I’m also working as a carer and volunteering with the Durham County Council Justice Service which is incredibly interesting.
“After I’ve finished my degree, I’m hoping to study for a master’s degree and hopefully a PHD too! My goal is to study at Oxford or Durham University to do this. Once I’m fully qualified I would love to work in the public sector, either teaching or helping vulnerable people in some way.
“My advice to anyone considering coming back into education is to do it! You have absolutely nothing to lose. I’m now so much happier within myself both mentally and financially. Don’t look back on your life and regret not doing something- just go for it!”