Students at Hopwood Hall College showed their A-Level peers that sixth form isn’t the only path to university.
Last year, more than 300 students left the Middleton and Rochdale-based College to attend university and a similar figure began their university journey after this year’s results.
Five students spoke about their route to university story and the professional industries they aim to forge a career in.
Emily Berry, from Rochdale, achieved a triple distinction* in her Extended Diploma her Level 3 Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production and has deferred a Fashion Communication degree at Northumbria University for one year while she builds up her experience:
“I initially intended to study A-Levels instead of a vocational course, but after meeting the tutors at Hopwood Hall College I was given a new perspective on the available pathways to university,” she explained.
“By studying a Level 3 Diploma, I have gained a huge amount of practical experience, work experience at business and knowledge of the theory side too.
“It’s all prepared me well for university and the world of work, I hope to one day work as a journalist in the fashion industry.”
Similarly Summira Khan, from Oldham, who earned a triple distinction* in her Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sports Science, made the switch from A-Levels to vocational studies after completing her AS Levels.
“Coming from a different background than is typical usually, I received a lot of weird looks studying a sports course,” she said. “But it’s the career path I wanted to do so I just cracked on and applied myself.
“I enjoyed studying at Hopwood Hall College as the facilities and the tutors were brilliant.
“Now I am focused on completing my Sports Rehabilitation degree at Salford University and working on a career in physical rehabilitation.”
Heather Wightman, from Heywood, scored a triple distinction* at Hopwood Hall College and also countered stereotypes while she studied a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Mechanical Engineering.
“My school only gave me basic information on careers, so I found it very important to do my own research about the many different job types,” she said,
“I found that an apprenticeship and then a BTEC Level 3 in Engineering was the best way for me to achieve my goal of becoming an Architect.
“I’m now going to study Architecture at The University of Manchester.”
Meanwhile, Oliver Lee, from Rochdale, will be progressing onto Hopwood Hall College’s own higher education courses after gaining a triple distinction* in General Sports Level 3 Extended Diploma:
“Studying at Hopwood Hall College has meant I can go to university, but I also got to enjoy college more than I would if I did A-Levels,” he said.
“I’ve been part of a football team that has won European silverware and I’ve been on residential trips to different countries.
“I’ll now be studying a Foundation Degree in Sports Coaching at Hopwood Hall College as I want to one day work in professional coaching.”
Storm Pemberton, from Oldham, earned a triple distinction* in her Animal Management Level 3 Extended Diploma and will be studying Wildlife Conservation and Zoo Biology at Salford University with the aim of one day working on conservation and rehabilitation projects for animals.
“I had a lot of laughs with some great people at Hopwood Hall College, but I also achieved a great deal academically too,” she said.
“With the facilities available with the course, I’ve gained real world experience alongside my qualifications.
“I’m excited to start university now and begin my target of one day helping to develop breeding programmes for endangered species to secure their future in the wild.”
For more details on courses at Hopwood Hall College and how to apply, see: https://www.hopwood.ac.uk/courses