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Where Are You Now?

Holly Robinson

Holly Robinson

BA Community and Youth Work Studies 2015

A young mother from Blaydon who battled setbacks to get a First class degree, and now works helping the underprivileged, wants to see more young women go to university and change their lives.

Holly, 23, failed to achieve her grades, but a call to the University of Sunderland’s Clearing hotline changed everything. In 2015 Holly graduated with a First Class degree, and now works as a Family Support Worker.

“After not getting the grades I hoped for I was in despair,” says Holly. “I had always wanted to go to university, and I felt it was something that couldn’t happen now.”

Holly had further complications – her daughter, Ella, had just turned two, so she was naturally wary about relocating from the North East to pursue her studies. However, a quick online review of the courses available showed her that Sunderland had just the course she wanted, and a call to the Clearing Hotline secured Holly a place on the BA Community and Youth Work Studies degree.

Now Ella is seven years old, and two years after graduating from Sunderland with a First, her mum is working as a Family Support Worker.

“I work in a supported accommodation for women with substance misused problems and their families, and I thoroughly enjoy my job,” says Holly. “It is challenging, but I go home each day knowing that I have made a real difference to the lives of others.

“The University of Sunderland is an excellent place, with great support and high quality teaching available. They were able to play to everyone’s strengths, and took into account my personal circumstances when planning my timetable.

“The course was very family-friendly, and financially I received funding to help me pay for childcare.”

In her final year Holly became involved in the University’s Mentoring scheme, one of a suite of careers guidance and support tools available to students at Sunderland.

“My mentor was David Dixon from Gentoo, who got me two weeks experience within a young person’s supported accommodation.  That cemented my choice of career, and really helped me get my first full time job, as the University also helped with mock interviews and job applications.”

Holly’s message to anyone in her position is to get online, ring the University of Sunderland’s Clearing Hotline, and ask for guidance and help.

“I would never have imagined when I received my A-Level results that I would be happy in an amazing career – and now here I am.”

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