From Hopwood Hall to Cambridge University: Meet the student going on to the world’s most prestigious institution

A Hopwood Hall College alumnus has been accepted to study at the prestigious Cambridge University.

Dulcie Turner, who will read Engineering at Murray Edwards College from September, gained a Level 3 qualification in Electrical Engineering when she attended Hopwood in 2017.

The one-year course was the first time she had access to industry-standard equipment, ultimately cementing her love of the field and kick-starting her journey to the University of Cambridge. 

Dulcie, from Prestwich, was homeschooled from Year 9 after leaving Parrenthorn High School.

She joined Hopwood when she was 15 after she’d already completed the majority of her GCSEs and wanted to build a vocational skillset while deciding on her next steps.

Dulcie was so impressed with the College’s state-of-the-art Technology Centre that she was happy to pass up providers closer to home and travel slightly further just to have the opportunity to attend lessons at the Middleton Campus.

The ambitious teen quickly discovered that she wasn’t just the youngest student in her class but also the only female.

Women currently make up just 12.3% of all engineers in the UK, according to the Women’s Engineering Society (WES).

The Electrical Engineering course gave Dulcie first-hand experience using equipment such as building circuits and microcontrollers.

She ultimately achieved an incredible Distinction* and Distinction – beginning an academic record that would eventually catch the eye of Cambridge University.

Dulcie is now one step closer to becoming a much-needed female talent in engineering, a sector which is worth 26% of the UK’s GDP and is vital for economic growth.

According to forecasts from EngineeringUK, the country requires 1.8 million new engineers and technicians by 2025 – making it so important that learners pursue courses like those at Hopwood Hall College.

Dulcie and many other students are shining examples of the role the College plays in training this hugely important workforce and tending to the acute shortage of engineers.

Julia Heap, Principal and CEO of Hopwood Hall College, said:

“You can’t help but feel inspired by Dulcie’s incredible achievements and I’d like to send a huge congratulations from everyone at the College.

“Dulcie’s story just shows that there’s more than one route to university and there are no limits to what our learners can achieve after completing their course.

“We hope all our new students will follow her lead and reach for the stars!”

Dulcie Turner on joining Hopwood:

“I think I was looking at courses to do and Hopwood Hall College just sprung out to me. The facilities were all really good, I was really impressed.”

Dulcie Turner on Hopwood’s Technology Centre:

“It’s because of my experience in the Technology Centre that I got into engineering. It was my first opportunity to use industry-standard machinery. I had a good relationship with the staff, they were all really helpful.”

Dulcie Turner on being the only girl in her class:

“Despite being the only girl, I found the class really welcoming. I made some great friends. You’ve just got to deal with it and get on with it. I like the things that I like and I just get on with it regardless.”

Dulcie Turner on going to Cambridge University:

“I think it will be a really good environment. Engineering is very male-heavy, so I hope that the work we do at Murray Edwards College will balance out the divide.”

Dulcie Turner’s advice to women going into engineering:

“I would say just work hard and keep going. Do what you’ve got to do!”


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