Charlotte Praises Weston College for Helping Turn Her Life Around

Charlotte Styles completed a remarkable journey in September when she began a Biological Laboratory Sciences Degree.

As a teenager, the combination of an unstable home life and poor attendance at school meant her education prospects looked bleak. Aged 15, Charlotte also gave birth to her son, Lee.

But despite these obstacles, Charlotte was able to turn her life around thanks to her sheer determination to succeed, and the support she received from Weston College.

“From a very early age, both my parents’ misused substances,” said Charlotte, now aged 26.

“This really impacted my emotional wellbeing and caused me to isolate myself from education. I had no role models.

“I had my son when I was 15 and, although I had been predicted quite good grades at GCSE, I was told I couldn’t take them. My attendance at school was really poor and I didn’t have much support from the school.”

Rather than give up, Charlotte enrolled on a Level 3 course in Health and Social Care at Weston College in 2010.

“The support from Weston College was tremendously different,” said Charlotte who also began working as a nursing assistant.

“It’s more one-to-one and, rather than being treated as part of a class, you’re seen as an individual and they support you as an individual.

“When you first go to college, you only think about the educational side – you forget about personal difficulties you may have. That’s the difference with Weston College. They acknowledge that and support you through everything.”

After completing the Level 3 course, Charlotte set her sights on progressing to a degree. To get there, she enrolled on an Access to Higher Education programme in Nursing, Health and Social Care.

At times, she found it difficult to juggle the workload and her other responsibilities but always received the help she needed.

Charlotte said: “We were told the Access course would be hard but I didn’t realise how hard it would be!

“But every time I told my tutor I couldn’t do something, she would tell me I can. They have all the time in the world for you even when they’re back-logged with assignments and marking.

“You’re always welcome to go and have a meltdown or a rant.

“I think it’s a real gift to believe in someone when they don’t believe in themselves and that’s what Weston College do.”

Charlotte, who now studies at the University of West of England, and has aspirations to go into FE teaching after being inspired by the teaching and support she received at the College.

Charlotte also had some words of advice for people who might find themselves in a similar position to her.

She said: “That first step is coming into the reception desk and saying ‘I want to do this – how do I get there?’”

“Weston College do everything else for you. They tell you which course you need to do and the financial support you can get. When you’re on course, they keep you motivated.

“Life stopped me in my tracks and made me doubt myself so many times, but the College made me believe in myself.

“I spent four years at Weston College and loved every single second of it.”

Click here find out more about the Access to HE course at Weston College.

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