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18 November 2016

Former Cardiff and Vale College student Lauretta is Agored Cymru Access to Higher Education Student of the Year 2016

Former Cardiff and Vale College student Lauretta Hughes has been named winner of the Agored Cymru Access to Higher Education Student of the Year Award 2016 for Outstanding Commitment to Study.

Lauretta left school at 15 with no qualifications and the belief that she was “stupid and would never amount to anything”. Despite that, the single mother of five is now reading Psychology at the University of South Wales, having taken an Agored Cymru Access to Higher Education (HE) Diploma in Healthcare at CAVC.

The next 15 years saw Lauretta bring up five small children while caring for her disabled mother and dealing with a turbulent home life. She found employment and worked her way up from cleaner to acting manager, but decided that she wanted to work in healthcare.

In 2009, Lauretta found the strength to leave her partner and her job and enrolled on a full-time Adult Foundation course at CAVC. The course renewed her confidence and she progressed on to a full-time Agored Cymru Access to HE Diploma in Healthcare at the College.

“During the first few weeks at college I was unsure whether I had made the right decision,” Lauretta said. “I’d been out of education for 15 years and everyone around me was so clever.

“The tutors, however, saw something in me that nobody – myself included – had seen: I wasn’t stupid! Throughout the course I gained a plethora of knowledge and I never wanted it to end.”

Lauretta achieved 36 Distinctions and nine merits on her course and progressed to the University of South Wales to study Psychology. In October this year, Lauretta won the Health Care Award and Principal’s Award for reflecting the College’s values at CAVC’s Annual Awards ceremony.

Her tutor, Lisa Bowditch, said: “Lauretta’s commitment to study has excelled all expectations. She managed to maintain 99% attendance and achieved Distinctions across all subject areas.

“What makes her commitment so impressive is that she’s done this while taking care of five young children, one of whom has Autism spectrum disorder.”

Lauretta explained: “The Agored Cymru Access to Higher Education Diploma has been essential in helping me to access education. I’m eternally grateful to the tutors at Cardiff and Vale College for their help and feedback.

“Their passion for teaching has given me a passion for learning. It’s something I will never forget.”