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Yvonne Brissett. 1991 Access to HE; 1994 BSocSc Media Culture & Society, University of Birmingham; 2010 Broadcast Journalist BBC 

Yvonne's story

I left school at 16 years old with the dream of becoming a journalist. Misguided, I enrolled on a youth training scheme but soon realised I was no closer to my goal, so I left to do a free training course at a local radio station. In 1988 BBC Radio Gloucestershire opened and after a lot of persuasion from me, I was offered a job on a community radio programme.

I couldn’t prove I could study at a high level

I wanted to develop myself as a professional journalist and was advised to go to university. I completed a foundation course at South Bristol College and then applied to several universities but, as I couldn’t prove I could study at a high level, was rejected. I was then advised to do an Access to HE course and, a year later, having completed the course I applied to the same universities and this time got offered a place at almost every one.

My experiences during the Access course were fantastic. I was 20 years old and the youngest student on the course. This gave me exposure to a wide range of people from different backgrounds and I enjoyed a high level of interactivity in group debates.

It taught me how to cope with the pressure of being a
full-time student 

Everyone on the Access course wanted to be there and worked hard, and the tutors were supportive, encouraging and understanding.The coursework was great as I was able to enjoy a wide range of modules. The content was very theoretical and involved writing essays and completing assignments. It taught me how to meet deadlines and to cope with the pressure of being a full-time student, which was excellent preparation for university.

I graduated with a 2.1 and went on to work as an Arts and Entertainment Editor at a magazine, before taking a Trainee Broadcast Journalism Course at the BBC in Bristol. Since then I have worked predominantly as a journalist at the BBC, currently on the TV news programme, Midlands Today.

Taking the Access course helped me to pursue my dream career with more confidence and gave me the opportunity to enter university. Access to HE definitely improved, enhanced and enriched my life - professionally and personally - and it created so many opportunities for me.