Mum of four Caley Mead is in her second year of a midwifery degree at the University of Plymouth. Aged 33, Caley has been given a second chance at her dream career after studying an Access to Higher Education Diploma at City College.
For years Caley dreamed of being a midwife but having left school believing that route wasn’t open to her, she pursued a career in sales and banking whilst also raising her family. The COVID-19 pandemic a gave Caley the opportunity to re-evaluate her career and with her business in a strong position and having recently given birth to her fourth child, she started to pursue turning her dream into a reality.
Caley said: “Having had four children, I’ve received some excellent care from midwives and this confirmed how much I wanted to support other women on this wonderful but sometimes scary journey.
“I contacted the College to talk about applying for the Access to Nursing course, but I was told this was full. However, the College offered me a place on the Access to Science course, which would also allow me to progress to a midwifery degree. I was also aware I would have to redo my English and maths GCSEs. My original plan was to take maths the following year, but thankfully my maths lecturer saw I was coping with the maths side of the Access course and she encouraged me to do the GCSE at the same time.
“It was certainly a juggle – four children, one of whom I was breastfeeding at the time, and studying, but by doing the maths online, this eased some of the demands on my time.
“Whilst the Access to Science diploma wasn’t my original plan, I’m pleased with how it has worked out. There is a lot of statistical analysis and evidence-based practice and my Access course really prepared me for this.
“I’m pleased I did my Access course with the College. The lecturers were really supportive and you would always get a quick response to a question or query. The maths lecturer, Kaarina, went above and beyond to support us during the lockdowns, regularly giving up her own time to help us. The staff really want you to achieve your goals.”
Caley is excelling at university, having achieved 80% or higher in all of her assignments so far. About her future career, Caley added: “If the next two years go to plan, it’s reassuring to know that I’m going to go straight into a job. It is quite intense, but if you enjoy caring for people, there will always be jobs in healthcare. To anyone considering a similar move, you can do it. It will be a lot of work but it is worth it in the end, and the College will guide you fully to ensure you get to where you want to be.”