Young Adult Learner Award Winner
Nominated by: Coleg Sir Gâr
Sponsored by: The Open University in Wales and AIM Qualifications and Assessment Group
Harley Clements was bullied at primary school, looking for a fresh start she moved to a different secondary school, she joined a group of friends that she was keen to impress to avoid being bullied again and this led to trouble.
She says, “The things we were doing became a lot worse and resulted in clashes with the police. By the time I had the courage to walk away, I had already sat my GCSEs and only just passed the ones that I really needed. It wasn’t until I started college that I eventually started to enjoy education.”
The experience of losing her grandad made her more determined and focused to change her path. “Seeing my granddad in hospital and watching people care for him made me realise how rewarding a job in nursing could be. At college I studied public services, and for a while I thought I wanted to study adult nursing. But COVID-19 was the turning point for me. We always had pets growing up, but during the pandemic I cared for them a lot more. I found being around them relaxing and decided I wanted to combine my interest in nursing with my love for animals.”
This change in mindset, combined with overcoming her childhood challenges, saw Harley starting to enjoy education for the first time. She quickly excelled and says, “The freedom of college really suited me, and I enjoyed the choice of subjects. I was able to go home during my free periods to my parents, brother and sister who all supported me and have inspired me to push forward.”
Harley has graduated from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) with an Animal Care and Welfare Degree and has recently started a new job working in animal care the industry.
“Once I had a career in mind, I knew it wasn’t too late to change my future. I earned a triple distinction at college which gave me the UCAS credits I needed to go to university.
“I wish I had never listened to the people who told me I couldn’t do it. Looking forward, I plan to continue progressing through the levels of education and gaining certifications in the veterinary profession.”
Steph Rees is a Lead Lecturer at Coleg Sir Gar and was Harley’s personal tutor during her time at UWTSD. She said:
“I look at Harley in complete admiration. Her journey to success hasn’t been easy but she’s proved to herself and others that hard work and determination pays off. Harley confided in me about her early learning years and since then, she has been open and adaptive to change and advice. She continually produced distinction-level work at university and has successfully found employment because of her commitment. This has been a long and emotional journey for Harley, but without a doubt, she is a dependable and dedicated young woman who will go on to achieve amazing things.”