Press Release

15 October 2013

Canterbury Christ Church University is currently supporting the Government's National campaign to raise awareness about the value of higher education.

Canterbury Christ Church University is currently supporting the Government’s National campaign to raise awareness about the value of higher education.

Make your future happen: Discover higher education is a week-long campaign running from 12th to 18th October that explains aspects of the student experience that can be generally misunderstood.

The campaign’s core focus is to show that higher education can be for anyone with ambitions and at any age.

Christ Church University offers a wide range of courses that caters for all. Mark Hassan-Ali and Kirsty Patrick are two students that have very different backgrounds but chose higher education to further their prospects.

Second Year BA English Language and Communication at Christ Church University, Mark Hassan-Ali is finally pursuing his early ambitions of studying at university 12 years after originally applying. 

Mark completed his A-levels in 2000 and had applied to the University to study Business Management with Italian. However, to earn some money during the summer holidays he decided to register with a recruitment agency. The agency offered to employ him full-time and Mark deferred his entry to university for a year.

Four years had passed and Mark was still working in recruitment. However, when Mark decided to leave his job and decided it was time to go back to education, his plans changed once again and he got offered a job as an Account Manager by an old client, Pinnacle Entertainment.

Finally in 2012, as he was approaching his 30s, Mark decided to leave his job and pursue his dream career. He applied to Canterbury Christ Church University to study English Language and Communication, with the aim of taking a PGCE after graduation to become a teacher. Mark had always wanted to teach, but after years of working found himself trapped thinking that he couldn’t possibly stop earning and support himself if he went back to full-time education.

“I keep kicking myself that I kept putting it off for as long as I did as it really is the best decision I have ever made.

“I always had two reservations about applying as I got older: Firstly, how on earth would I support myself financially and, secondly, what would I have in common with the teenagers now that I was in my 30s?

“But I’m having the time of my life. I have made some great and supportive friends, and financially you adjust. There is a lot of financial help out there, and what I found is that if you’re used to working full-time and possibly long hours with a commute, then working part time whilst studying is not a problem.”

Kirsty Patrick is another student at Canterbury Christ Church University who has fulfilled her dreams of coming to university and not being defeated by different challenges she has faced.

After not receiving high enough grades to study after her A-Levels, Kirsty considered her options and found out about the Foundation Science course at Christ Church that has allowed her a pathway into higher education.

As well as being a full-time carer for her mum in Bedfordshire, Kirsty struggled with splitting her time whilst on the Foundation course and had to re-sit the year twice before finally gaining access to the BSc in Ecology and Conservation Programme.

Kirsty said: “It was a struggle during the first few years as I had to travel back to home to look after my mum and keep up with my course. There were times when I thought I should just quit, but I just kept thinking ‘keep going’, what’s the worst that can happen?“

Sadly, Kirsty’s mum passed away during the first year of the degree course and she considered stopping the course, she explained: “I wanted to give up at that point as the worst had happened. I couldn’t see a way of continuing. The university was fantastic, helped me through it and supported me. Everyone was incredibly understanding and gave me extensions for my work until finally I passed my first year. If it wasn’t for their help and support I would be back home in Bedfordshire with no chance of doing the career that I have always dreamed of doing.  

“My message to anyone is that there is no excuse for not coming to university and studying for a degree. There were times when I thought I wouldn’t ever get through it, but I did and you can too.”

Notes to Editor

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With nearly 20,000 students across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • 94% of our most recent UK graduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • We are the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2012 UCAS).
  • We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.

*2011/12 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey

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Last edited: 05/12/2017 04:25:00