After studying uniformed services at Stockton Riverside College at age 16, Ashleigh left to begin her career in the army, with future hopes of joining the police force. Her time was unfortunately cut short due to medical reasons, and she returned home, where she found a job as a care assistant in a care home.  

She said: “I feel like I fell into a healthcare role, but I loved it, and I haven’t looked back since. At the time I felt too young to actively pursue a career in nursing, so I continued in my role at the care home whilst I started a family.” 

At the age of 27, she finally decided to take the plunge and apply for an access to health course and return to her old college.  

She said: “It was quite difficult to transition back into education and at the end of my access course I still didn’t feel confident enough to start at university, but I was determined to chase my dream as I knew it was ‘now or never’ and continued at Stockton Riverside College for another year to complete the Level 4 Certificate in Health and Social Care.  

“Doing this course gave me the confidence boost I needed to take the next step towards university. I felt like I gained more knowledge and built some great relationships with my tutors and peers. The support I received at the college was wonderful, especially from the careers advisor, Carol, who helped me prepare for my university interview.” 

Now in her first year on the adult nursing degree at Teesside University, Ashleigh is looking forward to exploring different areas of nursing during her placements and reflects on her time at Stockton Riverside College: “There was a great level of teaching on the level 4 course, I remember getting a first on my first assignment, surprising both myself and my tutor with how well I was doing, which was a huge confidence boost for me. 

“Looking back, I’m thankful for the time I spent as a care assistant as it provided me with life experience that really comes in handy when you’re studying nursing. I felt like I was more motivated and determined as I knew this was the career for me.” 

We wish Ashleigh the best of luck with her future nursing career! 

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