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Access to HE - Rob Studzinski

My name is Rob, I'm 34 years old, married with two children, I live in Bradford and I'm a former Access student.

My interest in social work stems from my teenage years really. My parents became foster carers and we used to have lots of different children coming to stay with us. It struck me as a profession that can really make a difference in peoples' lives. After my GCSEs I started GNVQ Advanced Health and Social care, as it was at the time, and A-level Sociology with a view to becoming a social worker. Unfortunately my Dad became ill and I had to leave full-time education and I began working for my Dad. I really did think that my chance had passed me by. I was a driver, a van driver. I found it quite unrewarding and very unchallenging, really. Inside I desperately wanted to be a social worker.

My wife knew how unhappy I was, and she found the open day for the Access course. I was very intrigued, I thought perhaps if I could manage on the Access course I may have a chance of managing at uni. I grabbed the opportunity, enrolled and started the following week. Very quickly the course became familiar and comfortable, and right from the outset it was very enjoyable. And the tutors in particular were very friendly and very welcoming. There were lots of other people like me who had been in a job for a long time, and reached a point where they'd decided they weren't satisfied, and took a step to do something about it.

I really feel that the skills I learnt on the Access course prepared my well for my time at my university. Time management was a real key skill that I learnt. Having a family and having work commitments meant that I had very little spare time, so it taught me to be quite hard with myself, and use the time that I have and use it productively.

Finishing the Access course just boosted my confidence, and it just showed me that I can do it. When I started university, I almost felt like I had a slight advantage. The assignments became more challenging, but I could always rely on the skills that I'd learnt on the Access course. And without them I don't think I would have got a first at the end of the degree.

I found a post with the local council, and I'm currently a newly qualified social worker in the hospital team. It feels fantastic to sit here and say I'm a qualified social worker. I feel very privileged to work with people when sometimes they're at their lowest, and to be supportive, and to help people make a difference in their own lives. The skills and knowledge that I began to learn on the Access course are still serving me well now. I would like to think my story shows that it is possible, that if there's something you really want to do, you can achieve it. The Access course for me was the first step. I'm so grateful that Access course exist, because without them I wouldn't have achieved my goal.