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Aaron Turnbull

Name: Aaron TurnbullAaron
Course: BA (Hons) Early Childhood (Part-Time)

I would have never thought four and a half years ago I’d be sat here now writing this, having completed a degree, and working towards a better career for myself. After leaving school without finishing my A Levels, I was unsure what career path I wanted to take and I had a few different jobs before I started working at the Halifax bank, where I was employed for five years. Whilst I enjoyed my time with the bank, it got to a stage where I realised this was not something I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life. I was 23 years old at this point and was still unsure what career path I really wanted to take. I had always had a passion for working with children and had been doing this on a part time or voluntary basis for as long as I can remember and after seeing an opportunity come up as a Teaching Assistant at a Special Needs School in Coventry, I applied for the post. I was excited to start a new challenge in a job that is very rewarding, however realised I needed to try and further my education alongside this, to give me greater opportunities in the future. As I did not have my A Levels, my options were limited and the foundation Early Childhood degree at Warwick was perfect for someone in my position, as it accepted applicants without A Levels, as well as allowing me to be able to work full-time and complete my studies. I found the application process informative, but not daunting and the staff at Warwick were all supportive throughout this process.

Having been out of education for many years, making the adaptation back to this alongside a full-time job and other commitments was difficult and challenging at times, although it has all been worth it in the end. My grades in the first few years of the foundation degree were reflective of the challenge I faced in this, however they improved as the course went on. After completing the final year of the foundation degree, I was unsure whether to stay on and complete the BA year, but with the support of staff at Warwick and a conversation with a lecturer, I opted to do so. On reflection, the BA year was my favourite out of the four, as we were given the freedom to choose a dissertation topic that we were passionate about. After a tough year with COVID affecting our studies at times, I am delighted to now have now graduated with a 2:1 BA Honors in Early Childhood. The degree has now given me the opportunity to start a new role in the council working as a Children and Families Worker for FDAC (Family, Drug and Alcohol Court) a role I would not have been successful in applying for if I did not have the degree behind me. I am hoping to apply for the Step Up to Social Work post-graduate diploma in the coming year, something which again wouldn’t have been an option without the degree.

My advice to anyone thinking about applying for the course or starting in the coming year is to embrace the challenge. Do not be disheartened if you do not always get the grade you were hoping for, it is a long course with plenty of opportunity to improve your grade in other areas that may be of more interest to you. One thing I would do differently going back is accessing more literature, if you are able to; read as much as you possibly can, it may not seem it at the time, but it is so useful when it comes to writing essays/assignments.

Good luck to any new starters or potential applicants of the course, to be able to say you have completed a degree is a massive achievement and I wish you all the success in your journey.