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​Results Day: Students choose their path to university, not A-Path


Students at Hopwood Hall College showed their A-Level peers that sixth form isn't the only path to university.

Last year, over 300 students left the Middleton and Rochdale-based College to attend university and a similar figure began their university journey after Thursday's results day. Five students spoke about their route to university story and the professional industries they aim to forge a career in.

Emily Berry completed her Level 3 Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production and has deferred a Fashion Communication degree at Northumbria University for one year whilst she builds up her experience:

"I initially intended to study A-Levels instead of a vocational course, but after meeting the tutors at Hopwood Hall College I was given a new perspective on the available pathways to university.

"By studying a Level 3 Diploma, I have gained a huge amount of practical experience, work experience at business in Rochdale and knowledge of the theory side too. It's all prepared me well for university and the world of work, I hope to one day work as a journalist in the fashion industry."

Emily BerryPictured: Emily Berry

Similarly Summira Khan, who earned a triple distinction* in her Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sports Science, made the switch from A-Levels to vocational studies after completing her AS Levels:

"Coming from a different back ground than is typical usually, I received a lot of weird looks studying a sports course. But it’s the career path I wanted to do so I just cracked on and applied myself.

“I enjoyed studying at Hopwood Hall College as the facilities and the tutors were brilliant. I enjoyed the experience more than A-Levels. Now I am focused on completing my Sports Rehabilitation degree at Salford University and working on a career in physical rehabilitation."

Summira KhanPictured: Summira Khan

Heather Wightman scored a triple distinction* at Hopwood Hall College too and also countered stereotypes whilst she studied a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Mechanical Engineering:

"My school only gave me basic information on careers, so I found it very important to do my own research about the many different job types that are out there. I found that an apprenticeship and then a BTEC Level 3 in Engineering was the best way for me to achieve my goal of becoming an Architect.

"I'm now going to study Architecture at The University of Manchester."

Pictured: Heather Wightman

Meanwhile, Oliver Lee will be progressing onto Hopwood Hall College's own higher education courses after gaining a triple distinction* in General Sports Level 3 Extended Diploma:

"Studying at Hopwood Hall College has meant I can go to university, but I also got to enjoy college more than I would if I did A-Levels. I've been part of a football team that has won European silverware and I've been on residential trips to different countries.

"I'll now be studying a Foundation Degree in Sports Coaching at Hopwood Hall College as I want to one day work in professional coaching."

Pictured: Oliver Lee

Storm Pemberton earned a triple distinction* in her Animal Management Level 3 Extended Diploma and will be studying Wildlife Conservation and Zoo Biology at Salford University with the aim of one day working on conservation and rehabilitation projects for animals:

"I had a lot of laughs with some great people at Hopwood Hall College, but I also achieved a great deal academically too. With the facilities available with the course, I've gained real world experience alongside my qualifications.

"I'm excited to start university now and begin my target of one day helping to develop breeding programmes for endangered species to secure their future in the wild.”

Pictured: Storm Pemberton