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Case Study

Rebecca Wolstenholme

Consett, UK

BA (Hons) Childhood Studies (Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies)

Rebecca Wolstenholme wanted to pursue a role working with children, so she enrolled on the BA (Hons) Childhood Studies to get an idea of which area she’d like to specialise in. She chose to take the Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies route, and after completing one of her placements in a prison, she realised this was her passion. She graduated with a First Class degree and has just started a new job, also in a prison, where she hopes to progress her career.

Before university, I was working as an assistant manager in a pub. I knew I wanted to do something else, but I wasn’t sure what. I didn’t feel confident going back into education, but I decided to give it a try with a course I was interested in. The University of Sunderland was rated very highly for the BA (Hons) Childhood Studies degree, as well as being a convenient location for me to travel to.

Returning to education and studying at Sunderland has given me so much more confidence in myself – I didn’t think I could do it, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at university. I chose Childhood Studies as I thought I wanted to pursue a career that involved working with children, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do specifically. During my studying, I realised that I was becoming much more interested in the society part of my course, and I developed a passion to learn more.

I chose to enrol on the Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies route, which meant that I got to attend placements as part of the course. I started with a school placement, which I did enjoy, but ultimately couldn’t imagine myself doing as a career. I then started a placement which involved working with fathers in a prison, supporting them and facilitating visits with their children. That’s when I realised this was something I was passionate about, so I continued to volunteer once my placement came to an end.

I graduated in 2023 with First Class Honours, and I’ve just started a new job, helping prisoners with drug and alcohol addictions to reestablish family ties, and set up their next steps for when they’re released. The enjoyment for learning and the confidence I gained during my degree really helps me with my daily role, and I hope to continue progressing in this field.

My advice to anyone thinking of going to university would be to just go for it. If there’s something you’re interested in, even if you don’t have a specific career path in mind, you’ll figure it out along the way! I met some great people during my time studying – both classmates and lecturers – and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.”

Published 8 February 2024

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