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From Fast Forward to Degree: How Matt Discovered His Route Back To Education

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Want to get back to eduction but not sure how to achieve it? Considering higher education but unsure about whether you can juggle other commitments?

Fast Forward is a free one-week course designed to help you discover your route back to education.

Mature student Matt Richards, started at UA92 on the Fast Forward programme, progressed on to a Cert HE in Software Development and is now well on his way to graduating with a degree in Computer Science. Read more about Matthew’s story.

What brought you to UA92?

An advert on Instagram. No, seriously it’s as simple as that. I didn’t think I would ever get to study a degree. I’d been considering it for years and been turned away from numerous places. I saw an advert for the Fast Forward course and took a chance. Now I’m here studying a CertHE which is the same as the first year of a degree.

What did you do before coming to UA92?

I was self-employed for ten years. I hosted live events and conventions, mainly video game conventions and Comicon conventions. I’d reached a point where I wanted to do something new and I wanted to learn. I had all this experience and tons of skills but not necessarily the qualifications that most places look for.

What held you back?

Being a mature student was definitely a barrier. Traditional uni wasn’t for me. UA92 was the first time I felt like someone was trying to help me get where I wanted to be. I spoke to the Admissions team who said ‘send me everything you’ve ever done in your life’. They see value in your skills as well as your qualifications. They helped me with things like student finance, how to apply and what that entails. Every time I have been unsure, someone has been there to answer my questions.

What did the Fast Forward course do for you?

Without the Fast Forward course, I wouldn’t have known about my options and the best way for me to get onto a degree course. Everything was explained and it finally made sense. At no point was I like ‘I don’t know what I’m doing’. The staff are amazing – they are so invested in you achieving your goals. When I got an unconditional offer on a Digital course, everyone was celebrating.

What would your advice be?

Send the email, send the message. Ask any question you can think of, no matter how stupid you think it is. Have that conversation with someone.

So, where do you go from here?

When I complete the CertHE I have the option to go straight into the second year of the Computer Science degree – so I’m definitely going to explore that. My end goal is to work for Microsoft one day so it’s perfect that they are one of UA92’s industry partners and have a team based on the campus.

A Certificate of Higher Education (Cert HE) is the equivalent to the first year of a degree. Upon completion you can progress straight onto the 2nd year of the degree course. Take a look at all our courses here.

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