Inspiration in Education nominee – Simone Worsley
Simone Worsley’s life was turned around by Staffordshire University’s Step Up To Higher Education course – and now she is a mentor for others starting the same journey.
The 37-year-old mum-of-two was at a low point in her life and living in emergency accommodation when she started the course in 2019. Now she is studying for a degree in criminology at Staffordshire University.
Simone, from Bucknall, said: “I was a really unconfident person. I felt I hadn’t achieved anything in my life. I felt ashamed of myself.
“When someone said I could do the Step Up course I thought there was no way I’d be accepted. I didn’t really understand what university was and I certainly didn’t think it was for people like me with no skills.
“I was a single mum in a council house and I thought they wouldn’t accept me but that I’d go to the interview anyway.
“I spoke to Ashley, the course leader and felt really positive. I was accepted onto the course and the support was fantastic.”
Simone not only mentors people currently on the Step Up programme, she was part of the University’s Government-funded Community Renewal Fund project.
She said: “I love working with people who want to change their lives and gain in confidence. It’s a really big step for them and I feel I can relate to that. It’s nice to see other people grow.”
Simone has now been nominated as an Inspiration in Education in the Your Heroes Awards by Step Up To Higher Education Programme Manager and Course Lead Ashley Cotton.
He said: “Being an integral part of our recent UK Government-funded, Community Renewal Fund project, Simone has worked tirelessly to coach, mentor and support many young people from the YMCA North Staffordshire to consider routes into degree level study through our established Level 3 Step Up to Higher Education programme.
“Over the course of the project, Simone has worked with many young people to help them realise their potential and ability to grow and succeed during Step Up, but also helped students move onto degree level courses at Staffordshire University.
“Simone’s personable and friendly approach has given many young people the opportunity to find their purpose and work positively through any barriers they experienced with their transition into education as their point of first contact.
“She has been an asset to the project and created long lasting relationships with staff so more young people can benefit from the support on offer to help them realise their future potential.”
Simone added: “It feels amazing to have been nominated by Ashley, who I now consider a friend. I’m a pretty humble person and don’t ask for recognition so to be put forward for this has brought a smile to my face.”