Online learning has undoubtedly become more prominent over the last six months. Thanks to faster internet connections, apps like Zoom, and a little more time on our hands, lots more people have been able to fire up the laptop and learn something new.

But we have been offering online training long before the Covid-19 outbreak. At the turn of the year, we improved our online offering by adding AAT accounting courses, ILM management courses, and a range of Access to Higher Education diplomas.

This meant that students could benefit from our quality teaching wherever they were in the country, just like recent graduate Brielle Lawson-Brown did.

Brielle studied our Access to Higher Education Nursing diploma, in partnership with the Open College Network West Midlands, and is among our first to graduate from these courses.

We managed to grab a few minutes with Brielle to find out more about her time on the course.

"This course has been fantastic, and it has effectively changed my life! It has set me up for what I'm doing now and helped to prepare me in ways I wouldn't have been able to on my own.

I'm 22 years old, and I live in Bracknell, Berkshire, and lead quite a busy life. The idea of studying online to help me progress my career really appealed to me.

I finished school and started working as a Business Admin apprentice, but I always knew I wanted to work in the Care sector.

After finishing my Business Admin apprenticeship, I started on the road to Health and Social Care. I worked in a nursery with children who had special needs gaining a Level 2 apprenticeship in Health & Social Care. Following that, I worked in a residential care home, to build my experience, and then worked in a nursing home - which is where I worked when I found this course.

It was actually my partner who found the course, but once he told me about it, I applied right away. It was an extremely easy and smooth process, and I started studying very soon after.

About two months into the course, I found a new job, working full-time work at my local NHS hospital. I started in Urology diagnostics and then moved into theatres, as a circulator and scrub practitioner.

I was juggling work and my studies - but I knew it would all pay off.

I studied for two hours every day, usually after my shift. It didn't matter whether I was working a 12-hour shift, at the weekend, or even a night shift. It's taken me so long to get where I am, I'm so determined to succeed, no matter what.

I won't lie to you and say it was easy. It was very hard, but I'm quite a stubborn person. I had lots going on, working, studying, caring for my parents, and planning my wedding, but Lauren at the college supported me all the way through.

She was always at the end of the phone or an email. The college was there when I needed them, and nothing was too much for them. Support like this is very rare, and I'm so lucky to have experienced their kindness on this access course.

I thoroughly enjoyed the course. It was very informative. It enhanced my knowledge about the things I had been learning in my NHS clinical job role. I developed a holistic care approach, which has been brilliant when caring for our bladder cancer patients.

The course lasted 10 months, and I studied 21 units - covering things like cell biology, psychology, and disease and prevention. I also learnt academic skills, like how to write an assignment, which is so useful. I passed all the modules with a Merit grade, and I was so happy.

Now that I have my qualification, I'm hooked on learning. I have just completed a training course that allows me to assist the doctor in flexible cystoscopy procedures. I get to assist in the sterile scrub side and assist the doctor in procedures such as stent removals and botox in the bladder. It's so brilliant, and I love it!

I have also recently started a higher apprenticeship with my NHS Trust. It is a Level 4 qualification, with the potential to work up and gain the equivalent of a degree once I’m finished. This all helps me get closer to my career goal of being a CNS in Urology - Uro-oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist!

I'm so pleased I took this course. It has opened up avenues I didn't think were possible and has given me so much knowledge and prepared me for whatever my dream job throws at me."

If you have been inspired by Brielle’s story, then why not take a look at our other online Access courses. They could open a whole range of opportunities and you could soon be working towards your dream career, like Brielle.

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