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Gavin McKay

Student Paramedic, Swansea University



I would recommend the Diploma to anyone who has been out of education for some years and who is wishing to fulfill their educational requirements to complete a university degree - no matter what age. I was thrilled to gain a place on the BSc Paramedic Science degree at Swansea University in 2020.

Gavin's story

As we celebrate Adult Learners’ Week in Wales, Gavin McKay, the winner of the ‘Outstanding Academic Achievement’ award at the Keith Fletcher Memorial Access to HE awards shares his experience of studying an Access to HE Diploma (Science) at Coleg Ceredigion.


Many thanks to Gavin and Agored Cymru for allowing us to feature this story on our website.


Gavin had been a secondary school ICT Manager at Aberaeron Comprehensive School in Ceredigion for more than 15 years. Although it provided security for his family and was a rewarding role, since his early 30s Gavin has wished that he had followed a career in Paramedics.


The title ‘Paramedic’ is protected by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and as such, a paramedic degree must be achieved to be employed with this title.


At the age of 46 with a substantial number of years out of education, Gavin knew that an Access to Higher Education Diploma was required if he was to have the chance of enrolling into the competitive Paramedic Sciences degree course.


When asked about his experience of the Diploma, Gavin said: ‘With dependents and a mortgage this big decision took a lot of deliberation, but with the support of my wife, children and family I decided to commit to the Diploma and enrolled at Coleg Ceredigion Aberystwyth in 2019.


‘The delivery of the Diploma and support from the lecturers and management team at Coleg Ceredigion provided an excellent start to the initial steps and pathway to my chosen career. In many ways, the Access to HE course exceeded my expectations - not only did it enable me to enter into higher education, but it also gave me skills that are critical to producing high quality work, such as research, time management and communication.


‘I would recommend the Diploma to anyone who has been out of education for some years and who is wishing to fulfill their educational requirements to complete a university degree - no matter what age. I was thrilled to gain a place on the BSc Paramedic Science degree at Swansea University in 2020.’


Gavin is just about to begin his second year as a student of Paramedic Science at Swansea University and hopes to become a registered Paramedic with the Health and Care Professions Council. Eventually, Gavin’s ambition is to be employed by the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust.


Jennifer Glenc, Gavin’s nominating tutor at Coleg Ceredigion shared these words in celebration of Gavin’s achievements and recognition:
 
‘Gavin McKay is a testament to how dedication, commitment and ambition can unlock an individual's potential, and proof that adult learners can achieve their goals at any age or stage in life. Gavin shows us that childhood dreams of a career can come true in later life, provided you have the drive and dedication necessary to see it through.


‘With the philosophy that there is no better person to define your destiny, but YOU. His unwavering dedication and consistency in his work has gifted the NHS with an individual who will make a great difference to the individuals he will encounter throughout his new career.’