This small university has a big reputation for its supportive community where everyone is “a name, not a number”. They are hosting a series of small graduation events this month, in line with government guidance, to celebrate those who have completed their studies and are now looking to the future, including further study or rewarding roles.
Among those graduating is mature student Michelle Nattrass, who has completed an MA in Family Support, the only course of its kind in the UK, and will be joining the PhD studentship programme.
Grandmother Michelle achieved her degree while volunteering with Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice Support Service (SENDIASS) in Leeds and Family Action. She also balanced volunteering and studying alongside being the primary carer for her son and grandson.
She joined Leeds Trinity in September 2019 having always had an interest in family support services, after receiving help due to her son’s diagnosis with autism and learning disabilities, as well as taking on full guardianship of her grandson.
The course offered the opportunity to conduct empirical research, and her study of birth-parent contact in special guardianship gained her the programme prize and a place to begin her doctoral studies to continue her research.
“My confidence in my academic ability has improved greatly and I have made connections with other researchers and professionals,” she says.
“My passion for learning has been reignited during my time at Leeds Trinity University. It has also given me a new perspective on how I can help others.”
Army veteran Simon Taylor will be graduating with a degree in Counselling Psychology after deciding on a career change. The 52-year-old knew he wanted to help others because of his experience in the Army, and the course appealed to him along with the University’s ethos of being “a name not a number”.
“I was extremely nervous regarding my abilities prior to beginning my studies at Leeds Trinity University but that has completely changed,” says Simon. “Today, I feel that if I apply myself I am capable and can achieve my goals – within reason of course!
“I have grown into a different person to the one who began his studies and hopefully I will continue to grow in the future.”
The pair will be joined by Megan Price who has gained a degree in Secondary Education, Physical Education and Sport, and a place to study for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).
The 22-year-old combined her studies with playing Rugby League for Leeds Rhinos and Huddersfield Giants – and also gave birth to her now 11-month-old baby girl whilst at university.
“My time at Leeds Trinity has shaped me into a resilient and determined individual, I feel as though I have succeeded through the most challenging of times and I now believe that anything is possible,” she says.
Discover more at www.leedstrinity.ac.uk