Published on September 30, 2022

Studying on one of North Hertfordshire College’s Access to HE courses is a great way to build the skills, knowledge, and behaviours needed for success at university, and is a recognised pathway into higher education study. But how far can an Access to HE course take you in your career?

Meet Callum Freeman, Deputy Head of English at North Hertfordshire College and Access to HE alumni! Callum joined NHC’s Access to HE course in 2010, studying on what was known at the time as the Humanities pathway (featuring topics on Sociology, History, and the Legal Environment, alongside core maths and English).

Find out more about how Callum’s course helped him progress in his career journey and his experience of the course in his interview below!

How has the Access to HE course helped you on your career journey?

“The Access to HE course helped me in so many ways. Coming back into education was always going to be tough after my experiences in school, but the course taught me to work hard and not give up. Practical skills such as research and working to a deadline are now applied every day in my career.

“The course also prepared me for university study in ways that I couldn’t imagine whilst on the course; from determination and perseverance to referencing and essay writing, I would not have been as prepared as I was without the Access course.

“Most importantly, though, were the people I met while studying on the course. The course helped shape my life; without the Access to HE course at NHC, I would not be where I am now.”

Can you tell us a bit more about what you did after your Access to HE course?

“After I finished my Access course, I went on to study English Literature and Creative Writing at Anglia Ruskin University where I graduated with honours.

“During my third year at university, I chose a work experience module. I had fantastic memories of the Access course and couldn’t think of anywhere better to try my hand at teaching. I reached out to Julie Savage [Head of NHC’s Access to HE course] and she welcomed me back to help out; after this, I didn’t want to leave.

“When I finished my work experience and graduated from my bachelor’s degree, I completed a PGCE in Further Education. Once again, when it came to my work experience, I chose to return to North Hertfordshire College, this time working at the Hitchin campus. It was here that I met so many amazing people that are still friends and colleagues to this day. I was offered a permanent role as an English tutor at NHC when I finished my PGCE, which I accepted.

“I then decided to study a master’s degree in Creative Writing at Uxbridge University, where I again graduated with honours. During this time, I was promoted to the role of Course Team Leader for GCSE English, which was a fantastic experience and one that has taught me so much. Finally, in 2019, I went back into education once more to gain my QTLS – a mostly reflective qualification, but one I learned a great deal from. It was whilst I was studying for this qualification that I successfully applied for the Deputy Head of English role here at North Hertfordshire College, a role that I absolutely love and am still working in today.”

What are some of your favourite memories from your Access to HE course?

“There’s so many memories that stand out! One of my favourite memories is from when I was preparing for my third History assignment hand-in. A friend and I took over the LRC, sticking up revision notes and motivational posters on the windows. We moved desks and computers to fit our masses of references, handouts, and planning documents. We stayed there all day before finally getting kicked out of the College at 21:15 because they were locking up!

“It goes without saying, though, the most outstanding memory I have of the course is the students on the course that became good friends. Our desire to achieve together, work together, and at times, struggle together, never faltered. The staff were unwavering in their support and were always happy to go out of their way to answer questions, discuss ideas, or offer pastoral support.”

If you could speak to someone that’s thinking about applying for an Access to HE course, what would you say to them?

“I’d say do it. Yes, it’s difficult, and yes, it’s stressful at times, but it’s worth it. If you dream of taking your education further and going to university to pursue your dream career, there’s simply no better place to begin your journey than the Access to Higher Education course at North Hertfordshire College.”

If you’re interested in starting your own higher education journey, be sure to check out North Hertfordshire College’s Access to HE courses!