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Picture of Mathew CassidyAdult student, Mathew Cassidy, will begin studying his History degree at Durham University this September, thanks to successfully completing one of St Helens College’s Access to HE courses.

Mathew, 20 first heard about the Access to HE courses after attending an adult information and enrolment event and speaking to the College careers advisor who advised him to study the course over the traditional A levels as a route to university. Access to HE courses are perfect for instigating a career change for those who have some life experience outside of formal education and who would like to study at university but don’t yet have the qualifications to gain entry.

After working full-time in a job role he wasn’t enjoying, he realised he wanted to achieve more in life. With a passion for history and wanting to work with something connected to it, he decided to apply for the Access to HE Humanities course to help him to gain a place at a university he had always dreamt of attending.

Mathew, from West Park, says “I underestimated the value of an Access to HE course in the eyes of universities but it was the perfect way for me to fast track to university and equip me with the study skills I would need for degree level study.” With lots of determination, Mathew put one hundred percent into his studies to ensure he would achieve the results he wanted. Mathew says “The Access to HE course definitely rewards ambition with opportunity.”

Following encouragement and support from his tutors and to help his personal statement stand out, Mathew volunteered with the National Trust for over six months as a Conservation Assistant. Mathew hopes to work for them after completing his degree studies.

Recommending the course Mathew says “Just do it! Durham University has such strict entry requirements and is the second best university in the country for my degree. Thanks to gaining Distinctions in my Access to HE course, I’m delighted to have secured a place there. I think that studying History will be a great foundation for my future career.”