Lottie Blunden, a single parent of four, is in her first year at university studying for a Bachelor of Science degree in midwifery. Getting to university meant starting virtually from scratch with science after a 25-year gap, at the same time as holding down waitressing, admin and cleaning jobs to support her family. She started studying AS level biology with NEC in January 2014, taking the exam and passing with a grade B 18 months later.
Midwifery has been Lottie’s dream career for years. When she qualifies, she wants to work in the National Health Service. It’s a sound career choice. According to the Royal College of Midwives, the country needs an additional 2,600 trained midwives to make up a shortage that has persisted for over a decade.
‘Having children really puts you on the back foot career-wise, especially if you want to spend some time at home with them and haven’t had much of a career before you have them,’ explains Lottie. ‘But I always knew I wanted a career where you didn’t stop learning, that was focussed on people and improving health and family life, that wasn’t driven by profit margins and that combined cerebral and practical skills. Midwifery is all that and more.’
Lottie knew when she began studying with NEC that she had a strong study ethic. She had studied for an undergraduate degree, sitting her finals and being awarded a 2:1 just five weeks before the birth of her first child. Three years later, at the age of 24, she trained as a Citizens’ Advice Bureau worker, did an MA in Women’s Studies and had her second child. Moving from a university city in the north of England back to her home town in the Midlands after she graduated had limited her career options, especially with two small children to care for. That’s why she has earned her living in a wide variety of ways – as an administrator for charities and educational organisations, at a Welfare Rights Advice Centre, as an adult education tutor and as a library assistant.
When Lottie first came across NEC, she was impressed that it has students all over the country and a website that shows the college is serious about education. This positive view was confirmed when she phoned up, finding knowledgeable and friendly staff at the end of the line. Her local college offers A level biology and she had considered studying there but working full-time and bringing up four children meant she wasn’t in a position to attend classes at a regular time each week. Not only did NEC offer her essential flexibility, it also offered the best value for money when compared with other distance learning organisations she looked at.
High points of studying with NEC were the freedom to study when it suited her, the support of NEC staff and being part of the Facebook group set up by A level biology students. She also has views on things that would improve the experience of NEC students studying A and AS level biology. At the same time as working through the AS level course, she also managed to complete several functional maths (pre-GCSE and GCSE level maths used in everyday life) qualifications at her local college.
Lottie concludes: ‘At last, I will have a qualification which gives me the chance to develop my career doing something meaningful and rewarding. If you’re determined and prepared to work hard, you can change direction, whatever your age. I would strongly encourage anyone with ambition and who needs additional qualifications to let NEC help them do it. After all, I began my biology AS with no real science knowledge, and managed to get a B.’
To learn more about NEC and our wide range of flexible distance learning courses, browse our website by navigating to the Courses sections listed under the menu at the top of the page, or talk to our friendly team of course advisors by calling free from any UK landline: 0800 389 2839