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Open College Network West Midlands Centres: Lifetime learning for all

Enabling Development Opportunities – Online Access

In this case study Michelle Bird-Rolph, Head of Access at Enabling Development Opportunities (EDO) discusses her experiences of working with Open College Network West Midlands in setting up new online  Access to Higher Education provision using the Pearl online platform.

“We have an excellent rapport with the Open College Network West Midlands team and have an extremely helpful co-ordinator and centre reviewer that are always happy to assist in any queries that should arise.”  Michelle Bird-Rolph, EDO
 
EDO was established in 2007 as a training provider to deliver apprenticeship and commercial qualifications.  We became an approved centre with Open College Network West Midlands in 2016 and our whole experience from application to approval and ongoing support has been a very positive one.  On the very first cohort of learners we did have a few teething problems but these were quickly ironed out with the help of the Open College network West Midlands team and regular dialogue and partnership meetings have ensured that efficient and effective processes have been achieved throughout.

We have an excellent rapport with the Open College Network West Midlands team and have an extremely helpful co-ordinator and centre reviewer that are always happy to assist in any queries that should arise. There are always training sessions available to upskill and continue professional development.  Our delivery suite is now more enhanced due to the Access to Higher Education courses being made available to us from the Open College Network West Midlands team.

Our very first Pearl online Access to HE learner was Samantha Cob and her statement below best sums up the positive impact and outcomes associated with our partnership with Open College Network West Midlands.  Having an online option was the only way Samantha could have completed an access course, which as you will read below really can change lives and open up new opportunities.
 
Student Testimonial: Samantha Cobb
 
 
“Ever since I was in school I planned to be a midwife.  Unfortunately I didn’t go straight into further education from school but in 2016 I applied and was very fortunate to be offered a role as a Maternity Support Worker. From the moment I arrived I loved it and instantly knew I needed to follow my dream of becoming a midwife. I soon applied to EDO to do my access course and with the support of colleagues I worked with I also completed an UCAS application for me to study midwifery. Never did I imagine I would get offered a place on my first application cycle but in July 2016 I received a conditional offer as my chosen university!! I was over the moon! Considering my amazingly crazy life, working being a parent as well as a foster carer, I at this point had already made good progress with my access course.

The condition of my university offer was that I received 21 distinction credits! This worried me! I hadn’t studied at all since I left school in 2004 and with the crazy busy life I led with my wonderful family I was really upset I may not get the grades I needed!

But with the support of my amazing family and friends and the added bonus of having a fantastic tutor I finally managed to get my results to the University and my place confirmed! My tutor Michelle was always available on the phone or email and never rushed me and always did her best to support me.  Michelle went above and beyond to support me with this journey, she had faith in me when I had very little and with her support I managed to achieve 28 distinction credits! I still cannot believe it!!

So today I enrolled at my chosen university as a student midwife! I proudly gave my certificate of my access course as evidence and received my ‘Student midwife’ ID badge! Me and my husband are also legally and completely the parents to our two adopted children as well as our two older children and life although its set to get even more crazy with my new studies I know this course has given me invaluable experience to get me through the next three years!! I read so many article about mums worrying about balancing work, children and studies! I take my hat off to all those doing just that! Its hard work but so worth it! I am so pleased with how far I have come and the wonderful opportunities this course has led to.”  Samantha Cobb, Access to HE learner using Pearl.
 
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