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I would say that education is a door to a multitude of opportunities, and qualifications really do count. Find something you love and keep going, you won’t regret it. Education really can change your life!
Olivia Hammond, a Lancaster & Morecambe College (LMC) alumni student, works at LMC as a Business & Marketing Apprenticeship Adviser.
After gaining a range of qualifications at LMC, she now holds a wealth of knowledge and is employed full-time by LMC.
Olivia believes that LMC’s unique links with the GRT community were the reason why she felt supported to return to education after so many years.
“My family felt comfortable with the arrangements that LMC made, having all GRT learners in the same group and providing lots of support the whole way through for the entire group to transition back into education after such a long break.”
In 2019, Olivia appeared on ITV News to speak about her journey through further education having left primary school aged 10 due to her Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) culture.
As a student on an Entry Level course in Hair and Beauty, Olivia undertook a GCSE in English at the same time, which allowed her to continue on to study an Administration Traineeship at LMC Business. Following her Traineeship, she then progressed onto Level 3 Business Studies and gained a GCSE in Maths the next year.
To top off the range of qualifications Olivia had gained at the College, she then went on to study Psychology at GCSE level. When asked about how she chose to study certain subjects, she said:
“I chose Psychology as I wanted to get as many qualifications as possible and learn as much as I could whilst I was here, and I also believe it fitted hand-in-hand with Business as it’s really important to learn the motivations and triggers behind decisions made.
“I loved both courses and would recommend to anyone!”
Olivia now describes her biggest accomplishment at the College as ‘coming full circle’, starting with absolutely no qualifications to now working full-time in a job that she loves, which would not be possible without learning the skills available to her at LMC;
“I have done lots of things within my time here including being a student ambassador, doing work placements which have led on to further employment, won several awards, and have also developed the skills I’ve needed to work with other young people who are in the same situation.”
When asked what advice she would give to young people in a similar situation, she explained:
“I would say that education is a door to a multitude of opportunities, and qualifications really do count. Find something you love and keep going, you won’t regret it.
“I believe that young people within the GRT community, or similar communities where further education isn’t seen as important, should really challenge those views and show the people around you that it really isn’t that scary.
“Fear comes from a lack of understanding – so take your family and friends along to your local college/school, there are some really great people who want to explain everything and answer all your questions.
“Education really can change your life!”