Next week I’ve been invited to do a presentation to some students and employers at Hereward College. Back in 1999, I started studying A-level English and GNVQ Business Management at the college which specialises in catering for disabled students, most of whom are residential.
When I look back at my time at Hereward, I am always amazed at how much it helped develop me – both academically and personally. Hereward was my first experience of living away from home, I was just 16 and up until that point, I had relied heavily on my parents. This was my opportunity to spread my wings a little! As well as studying, the college were keen to encourage independence and with staff support, I learnt to look after myself and after a few disasters, I also learnt to cook!
When my 3 year course came to an end, I applied to university and landed a place at Oxford Brookes to study Business Management. This move into student halls would have been unthinkable without Hereward as my stepping stone. Although apprenhensive, my parents left me in my new digs knowing that I wouldn’t starve and would be able to live independently with minimal support for 2 evenings a week.
Since then, I’ve come to the point where I’ve been able to live in my own flat without support, hold down a full time job, get married and now start my own business! I’ve come so far and I’m convinced that it’s down to the start that Hereward gave me. I hope that when I talk to the students next week, I’ll be able to convey what a great opportunity Hereward gave me and how many doors it opened and that it could do the same for them.