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Inspirational Sue wins award for academic excellence aged 64


She left school with no qualifications and had not been in education for almost 50 years, but a Truro College Access student is celebrating an award

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Published Tuesday 14 December 2021

Sue Trebilcock, from St Columb, studied Access to HE: Computing, where she received distinctions across the board and has won the ‘Keith Fletcher Award’ for Outstanding Academic Achievement from CAVA, the Cambridge Access Validating Agency, coming top out of 3064 students.

“I was speechless when I found out,” says Sue. “Absolutely stunned. The nomination was great, I was honoured to be nominated.”

Sue wanted to return to education to show the world what she could do, but never anticipated winning a top award for academic excellence while doing it.

She says: “I’ve been out of education for 48 years and left school without any ‘O Levels,’ with no qualifications whatsoever. My ambition was to get some education, just to show myself and show the world that I could do it. But I was determined to do my absolute best. I wanted to set an example and I knew I had it in me. My lack of qualifications made me feel stupid, but I knew I wasn’t.”

Access to Higher Education courses are a stepping stone to a University Level education and then to a new career, designed for adults who do not have the previous qualifications to enable them to study at a higher level straight away.

Access courses usually start in September and finish at the end of May, taught over 11-15 hours a week, usually across three days.

‘Access to Art and Design,’ ‘Computing,’ ‘Creative Media and Photography,’ ‘Humanities, Teaching and Law,’ ‘Medicine,’ ‘Nursing and Human Sciences,’ ‘Psychology and Social Work,’ ‘Science’ and ‘Sport Science’ are available at Truro College, while ‘Access to Creative Arts,’ ‘Creative Media and Games,’ ‘Humanities’ and ‘Health and Social Care’ are at Penwith College in Penzance.

On her Access to Computing course Sue studied programming, software development, networking, computer systems, website design, html, databases, spreadsheets, and more, and students progress from that course on to University courses in subjects like Computer Technology, Web Development and Computer Security.

Sue calls her Access course: “Absolutely fantastic. It is two years of study condensed into one year, so it’s pretty intense. But I’d recommend it.”

Sue did her Access course, and took GCSE English and Maths, in order to do a University Level course at the College, the FdSc Cyber Security, which she currently studies.

“It’s brilliant,” she says of her Cyber Security course, “I discovered it, came to an open day and spoke to the staff, and it sounded really interesting. I’ve always loved computers. My long-term aspiration is to work in cyber security. It’s a subject that really fascinates me.”

The FdSc /HNC Cyber Security at Truro College gives students the knowhow and qualifications to work in IT security and network operations, keeping on top of current trends and industry practices in our world in which online and computer security is of paramount importance. There is also the choice to top-up to a full degree on the BSc (Hons) Applied Computing Technologies at Truro.

“I couldn’t have achieved all of this without the amazing level of support I received from my tutor, Sam Donovan,” adds Sue. “He believed in me and seemed to know what I was capable of and made sure I made the most of it.”

Sue is also keen to inspire others to go for what they’ve been dreaming of: “It’s never too late! I’m living proof. I’m 65 next year and I’m not retiring, I’m starting again!”

Find out more about Access Courses at the College here and the Fdsc Cyber Security here.

 

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