Case Study

Stephen Day

Stephen Day thought university was impossible when he was working in the mines. In 2015, he graduated from BA (Hons) Childhood Studies (0-11 years) and is now doing his Masters.

Attending university had always been a dream for me, I left school in 1985 at 16 without any qualifications and started work in the mines. My father was a colliery manager and my grandfather worked in the pits in Durham. At that time, university seemed impossible for me. I moved back to the North East in 1995 after leaving the pits, I started working in retail and for the next 20 years worked in the mobile phone sector.

The course content and variety of teaching styles were the best aspects of the course, some lectures were traditional while other used technology to enhance the learning. The assessment types again were traditional and modern, from written assignments and reports to the production of videos and presentations.

The University is a fantastic place to learn, the range and depth of subjects that the University offers is great. The facilities are second to none, the library at Sunderland is fantastic; they have a huge number of digital copies online. The teaching staff on Childhood Studies are all experts in their field, they are supportive, approachable and really help drive and draw the best from you during your studies.

Sunderland is located in an amazing part of the country, you benefit from a much lower cost of living than at most universities. The location offers you scope to explore the north of the country and Scotland from a beautiful part of the UK. There is easy access to major transport routes, airport and ferry ports. Sunderland has such a lot to offer; away from study you can watch top-class football, rugby union and basketball in the local area.

Since graduating in 2015, I took a year out to work and gain experience in preparation for applying to start a Masters in Social Work. I worked for a local authority in a children's centre that provides residential care for children and young people with disabilities.

I left there and moved to a private company to work with teenagers in an EBD residential unit. The young people were placed in the unit from local authorities from all over the country. The company specialises in working with children who present high severity needs with challenging behaviour and complex care requirements.

I'm currently in my final year at Durham University completing a Master of Social Work. I'm out on final placement at the moment working in an Affective Disorder team with the local authority.

The University of Sunderland helped me realise my dream; I'm the only one in my immediate family to have completed a degree. I was really pleased to achieve a First class degree, I was awarded the Ede and Ravenscroft Prize, Student Representative Award from the faculty and a Gold Award from Young Enterprise all in the final two months at Sunderland.

Sunderland gave me the confidence to push forward to the next level."

Published 16 February 2018

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