Chris left school with very few qualifications and now aged 32 and studying Level 3 Health & Social Care in Salisbury, he is eagerly awaiting September for the start of his BA (Hons) Social Work degree at Bournemouth University.
With a passion for helping others, Chris started his journey on a Level 2 Care apprenticeship with a local residential home where he went on to work for some time. It was when he began to find elderly care particularly psychically challenging, that he decided to return to education.
Chris said: “I didn’t do very well at school but I haven’t wanted that to stop me achieving my goals.
“A previous team leader of mine once said to become a social worker is really, really hard work but rather than putting me off, it just encouraged me to go out and read some books!”
Despite his wealth of industry experience and growing collection of qualifications, the sight of a career in social work was out of reach as he required a qualification equivalent to three a-levels and GCSE English and maths for a social work degree.
In September 2015, Chris enrolled on the Level 3 Health & Social Care course where he could study English and maths alongside the full-time course.
He said: “I have really enjoyed the sociological, psychological and disorders units on the course and have found researching different illnesses and how they affect the body and the psychology behind why people do what they do really interesting.
“Over the years I have been a youth worker working with teenagers for two years, I volunteered for the NSPCC at their family drop in centre for young mothers and children, helping run their after school club ‘Sunshine Group’.
“During the course I have had the opportunity to work at Pembroke Park Primary School, Exeter House and Bradbury House working with residents who have learning difficulties.
“I had an unsettled childhood which really helps when talking to people with similar situations.
“People seem to trust you more.”
Alongside his course, Chris works as a care night worker at Holmhurst Care Home in Salisbury where he is trained to help patients with severe mental health and personality disorders including bipolar, schizophrenia, epilepsy and drug and alcohol abuse.
Chris added: “My dream job is be a social worker for people with mental health issues or for young mothers and their children who are in a refuge or have learning disabilities.
“Coupled with the experience I already have, I wouldn’t be where I am today, offered a place at university, without the Level 3 Health & Social Care course at Wiltshire College Salisbury.”