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Michelle’s message to those considering returning to education: ‘It will change your life’

Introducing Michelle Wilkinson BA(Hons).

Michelle, from Padiham, is one of our amazing Burnley College University Courses graduates.

She studied Health and Social Care (Mental Health Pathway) and now has a degree-level qualification to open doors to a management position in the health and social care sector, as well as senior roles which require a degree across a wide range of industries.

“Because I moved home a lot when I was young, through my father’s work, I didn’t do well at school at all and ended up in jobs which didn’t challenge me,” said Michelle, looking back.


I always knew I could do more but just didn’t know where to start – it all seemed too overwhelming – until I spoke to a support officer at Burnley College about coming back to education.

Michelle Wilkinson


“I was spurred on by my family and wanted to do it for them, as well as myself, to show them you can do anything you put your mind to.

“I must admit, I was nervous when I went to that first meeting at College but they were so understanding and approachable. They gave me the time and space to open up about the fears which were holding me back.

“By the end of that first conversation I had a clear road ahead of me that led to a degree and new opportunities. All the barriers I thought were in my way – like having poor exam results from school and no recent experience in education – had been moved out of the way.”

In 2014, Michelle started on her academic journey that ended in 2019 with her being awarded a BA(Hons) degree at the Burnley College University Courses graduation ceremony in front of her family and friends.

“Studying for my degree not only brought me a life-changing qualification, it changed me as a person,” said Michelle.

“I’ve grown in confidence and achieved things I never thought were possible. I’d recommend it to anyone looking to make a change and discover their potential. You’re capable of so much more than you think!”

Michelle’s qualifications now include:

  • Functional Skills Maths
  • Functional Skills English
  • Level 2 Health and Social Care
  • Access to Higher Education Certificate
  • Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care (Mental Health Pathway)
  • Top-Up Degree Health and Social Sciences

Each step of the way, staff at Burnley College and Burnley College University Courses have worked with Michelle to create a pathway to success and ensure she can achieve her dreams. From advice on the best courses to study to support in applying for her degree and arranging the finance, academic support and health and wellbeing guidance, Michelle has had a team of friendly, approachable experts behind her.

“The support I received was amazing!” said Michelle.


It made a huge, huge difference knowing there was someone to turn to for help and there were people who really wanted to see me succeed.

“I didn’t feel like a number, or one of the crowd, I felt I mattered and nothing was too much trouble.”

And Michelle’s words of advice for others not sure about returning to study ….

“If I can do, you can do it! The first step is the hardest but once that’s behind you, you can achieve anything you put your mind to. It’s not just career changing, it’s life changing!”

Are you ready to Say Yes to changing your life, just like Michelle has? Talk to us now on 01282 733400, email [email protected] or visit burnley.ac.uk/university