A First Class Result For Shaun

A former student of East Durham College has just been awarded a scholarship to study for a Ph.D at the University of Teesside.

Shaun Wellburn, aged 42 from Peterlee, studied on the one year Access to Higher Education course at the College back in 2006.

Shaun explained: “I was working at Caterpillar as a team leader, previously having been in the Navy and also worked at Nissan. I knew I wanted a complete change of direction out of engineering and industry but was not sure what I wanted to do.

“Having studied Maths, English, IT and Biology on the Access Course I enrolled on a full time BSc Degree in Sport and Exercise at the University of Sunderland, which I have just completed and was made up to be awarded a first class honours degree.”

Shaun, who left school with two O-Levels, had planned to progress on to a Masters but the academic staff at the University of Sunderland encouraged him to apply for the Ph.D in the Investigation and Management of Scoliosis (curvature of the spine).

Shaun added: “I would never have had the confidence and belief to go for the Ph.D if it had not been for the staff at Sunderland, they were brilliant.”

Alan Taylor, the Access Course Leader at East Durham College, said: “I’m absolutely delighted for Shaun. The best part of my job is the affect I can have on the lives of people who come on to the access programme. Shaun has proved with ambition and hard work anything is possible and I’m thrilled to have been able to help him at the start of his amazing journey.”

Shaun plans to work as a lecturer or researcher once he completes the 3 year Ph.D at Teesside.

Access courses are specially designed for mature students, many of whom had to leave school at 16 and did not have the opportunity to progress to university. This may have been due to financial reasons or because they thought they did not have it in themselves to go on. The courses are designed not just to update knowledge, but also to give students the confidence and study skills
needed to cope with Higher Education.