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Alan Searle, Business Psychologist

'The Access to HE course set me up for a five-year journey of study, and my dream of establishing my own business.'

Access to HE Diploma, The Grimsby Institute Group
BSc (Hons) Psychology, University of Hull
PGCE, University of Huddersfield

Alan's story

Up until 2004 I worked as an engineer in the electrical industry, installing CCTV systems. However, after my wife passed away suddenly, I withdrew from industry to focus on raising our three children.

After a couple of years, and being only 33, I had reached a point in my life where I could move forward professionally. Unfortunately, despite my skills, I had left school with few qualifications, my best grade being a D in GCSE Drama. I realised I needed to upskill, which lead me to a part-time Access to HE course at the Grimsby Institute.

The other students and staff made the transition back into education a very enjoyable and exciting experience

At first I was very nervous, as it was a new environment with lots of new people, and I didn't know what to expect of my ability to study. However, this was soon put to rest, and I really embraced the course. Being a lone parent, I was able to fit study in around my family life, and I was fortunate in being able to support my children while being on income-related support.

At the start of the course I was diagnosed with dyslexia, which answered so many questions about my achievement in school. I was supported in how to make this learning difficulty work to my advantage in the way I approach study and revision.

There were ups and downs during the course, such as deadlines and getting into the habit of reading up on various topics, but obtaining my grades gave me great confidence in my own abilities, and provided me with the skills to obtain my degree in Psychology at the University of Hull.

I was fully prepared for study at a higher level

After university I was unsure what direction to take, so I contacted my Access to HE tutor to have a chat about the future - which was greatly appreciated, as although the course was over, the support was still available.

After we spoke I decided to apply for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, eventfully teaching and helping Access students myself. After several years lecturing, I left education to start my own company, providing training to companies on team working and resilience.

Without the Access to HE course I could still be unqualified and uneducated. If you are thinking about Access to HE, don't let what might be stop you - let what could be drive you! The course will provide all the skills you need to engage and be who you really want to be.