Mariia beats the odds to secure Access to HE Diploma

Photograph of Mariia Cambell alongside the UCEN Manchester logo.

The 36-year-old is one step closer to her dream of becoming a Registered Children’s Nurse after also passing her English GCSE.

An Access to HE student at UCEN Manchester has overcome a host of obstacles to achieve excellent results on her Access to HE and GCSE courses.

Mariia Cambell recently graduated from UCEN Manchester with 141 UCAS points (equivalent to AAB in A Levels) in her Access to HE Diploma in Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Professions.

She also studied for her English GCSE alongside the Access course, achieving a fantastic Grade 6 and securing a place at the University of Salford to study for a degree in Children’s and Young People’s Nursing. 

While studying at UCEN Manchester, some of Mariia’s family were trapped in her home country of Ukraine due to the war. She managed to help bring her father to England, but he has a lot of health concerns and so she took on extra responsibility to care for him.

But that didn’t stop Mariia from achieving her goals. Lecturer Nicky Smith explained: “I've never seen such tenacity in a student. Mariia’s attendance and punctuality have been exemplary. She takes on every bit of feedback and feedforward, reflects on it and acts on it.  

“Most people who haven't done a GCSE before struggle achieving it in one year but Mariia has done this with flying colours. I'm incredibly proud of her and feel blessed to have taught her.”

The 36-year-old chose to join UCEN Manchester on a Pre-Access and Functional Skills course two years ago because of the opportunity to balance her studies, childcare and family commitments, as well as the approach to the course.

And now that her two-year journey with UCEN Manchester has ended, she’s feeling “incredibly proud” and “well prepared for future university studies”.

“It was incredible and challenging at the same time,” Mariia said. “I have faced many difficulties since the beginning of my studies. It was a huge workload and I also had other commitments, such as my family and childcare.  

During the course I received a massive support from my tutor, Nicky, who also motivated me to strive for the best. Making study my priority and staying focused helped me to succeed. I regularly received feedback and targets which helped me focus on what I needed to improve to achieve my GCSE grade as I wanted to widen my university options.

“I have enjoyed progressing within the same department and with the same tutors from doing Pre-Access and Functional Skills, to Access and GCSE. The Access and GCSE courses have allowed me to start to shape my future.”

Now well on her way to her dream of becoming a Registered Children’s Nurse, Mariia says she would recommend UCEN Manchester to other adults looking to launch their career.

She said: “My time at UCEN Manchester completely changed my life; it gave me a sense of belonging and the opportunity to follow my dreams. 

“Although the workload can be challenging, you will be supported by wonderful tutors throughout the process. I would particularly like to thank Nicky Smith, Lucy Brownbill, Beth Tunstall, John Hewitt and Habiba Shaikh from the Access department for all of their support.”

You can learn more about Access to Higher Education courses at UCEN Manchester and how to apply.