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Retirees urged to take on a new challenge and study for a degree

August 8 2015

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A JOCKEY who swapped horses for courses to join university as a mature student is urging retirees to take on a new challenge and study for a higher education.

Jaki Houston-Campbell is encouraging older workers and pensioners to study for a degree at Glyndŵr University Wrexham.

Jaki says you are “never too old to learn” and benefited from the University’s innovative methods - including interactive lectures and online delivery – to take on an MsC in Learning and Technology.

Having retired from horse racing following a stellar 10-year career, which saw her become the first professional woman ever to ride winner at Ascot and Dubai, Jaki took up a role with the British Racing School (BRS) before deciding on a change in career and following her dream of working with computers.

The 47-year-old – who later discovered she was dyslexic - says Glyndŵr helped to “boost her confidence” when she made that change in direction.

“I enrolled on the PGCEL (Postgraduate Certificate in E- Learning (PGCEL), and when I started I was worried I wasn’t clever enough to do it, as very early on in the course I found that the others were using very technical and educational speak that was going over my head,” said Jaki.

“While they’d all been studying at university I’d been working with horses, so I felt a little uncomfortable.

“I had struggled to keep up because my home life is very hectic, but the freedom of working online as and when I could has made it possible to gain the qualification. I’m already putting into practice a lot of the things I’ve learnt at Glyndŵr University and would like to thank my tutors for their support.”

The University prides itself on being ‘open to all’ and its award-winning student support team is among the best in the country.

Whatever their age, all students are made to feel part of the Glyndŵr family, and they could choose any one of a suite of groundbreaking new and existing degrees – including Real Estate, Healthcare Management, Creative Writing, Performance Car Technology, and History.

There is also financial support as student loans do not have to be repaid until future earnings exceed £21,000 a year, and grants towards living costs and resources are available for anyone joining this September.

Retiree Simon Birch is another who thanked the institution for giving him a new lease of life.

He is now studying for a BA in History and says Glyndŵr has given him “greater awareness” of the world.

“I had no idea what to expect when I started, but without exception I have found everyone very helpful,” he said.

“I am seeing the world in a different way. Instead of drifting along with my eyes closed I am just starting to see how things have developed and evolved.

“The small class sizes and interaction with my tutors are the things that stand out the most – they’ve really helped me to settle into life at the university.”

Julie Cowley, Head of Marketing, Recruitment and Admissions, said whatever the reason, going to university as a mature student is highly rewarding, not least because the desire to excel is often heightened.

Mature students often face unique challenges, including juggling academic study with paid work, family and financial responsibilities which can add pressure to an already demanding study situation,” said Julie.

“We have a support network in place that will help them deal with any issues that arise, and make the student experience a very positive one.”

Julie added: “Glyndŵr University has societies that bring together people with common interests, helping mature students establish themselves and build friendships and develop support networks.

“With financial support available there’s no reason why people can’t get in touch with us now and join this September – if there is anyone out there wanting a fresh start in life, to gain a higher education, they should choose Glyndŵr.”

For more information, call the admissions team on 01978 293439 or email enquiries@glyndwr.ac.uk. The university’s next open day is on Saturday from 10am-2pm.

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