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Student Journey: Shaheen's Story


Shaheen started studying with the Centre for Lifelong Learning with just GCSEs , gaining a place on our 2+2 BA Hons Social Studies degree. After graduating from this degree, she’s now completed our MA in Career Development and Coaching. She explains her story below.

My highest qualification was GCSEs before I started on the 2 + 2 Social Studies course and then my Masters. I had previously worked in factories, schools and ran my own business.

I returned to Education because I have always wanted to pursue education further, I left school with just GCSEs and got married at a very young age, so I never had the chance to take A-Levels and go to university.

After my marriage had broken down, I decided I wanted a different career path than the one I was on. I still had the passion for learning and felt that I had missed opportunities to gain qualifications on the higher Education front.

I was at a crossroads as to what kind of career I wanted, but I knew it was working directly with vulnerable individuals and supporting them to take positive steps forward.

I was a mature student coming back to study after nearly 20 years, so I researched online for the best course for me and one that could fit around my young children. A career guidance worker suggested I look at the 2 + 2 social studies course. I was apprehensive because I had only GCSEs and no A-Levels but went for it anyway. I was given an unconditional offer after my interview and my journey of eight years in higher education started.

The Careers Development and Coaching Masters has provided me with an insight into the changing nature of paid work, the shifting world of careers and employment. It has given me a foundation to build further knowledge of the labour market and help to guide others into meaningful employment and education.

I’ve learned that it is never too late to learn, and my brain can retain information and I can get out of my comfort zone to achieve my dreams. I’ve learned that I am resilient, adaptable and resourceful. I have extended my own chances of getting roles in different employment sectors and become a good positive role model to my children.

Since I graduated with my degree and masters, I’ve worked with vulnerable people as I wanted and have worked in many varied roles. My roles have included being a mental health support worker, healthy minds support worker and spearheading a domestic violence and forced marriages unit. I currently am a civil servant and mental health first aider.

Returning to education in an adult learning environment was a comfort because you were with people that had similar worries, anxieties and responsibilities as yourself and who could understand the pressures of personal commitments.

The CLL and Warwick staff were brilliant and really supported my journey. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time and benefitted both socially, personally and educationally from my time at Warwick, and would recommend it to anyone contemplating returning to education.

Name: Shaheen Akhtar

Completed: 2+2 Degree, MA in Career Coaching and Development