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Laura Miles (graduated 2011)

 When Laura Miles’ mother died when she was a teenager, school work went “out the window”.

Despite her mother’s pleas for her to get a good education, Laura admits that it was not a priority. That was until she reached her 30s and decided it was time to get qualified.

Now Laura has graduated with a 2:1 degree in English Language and English Literary Studies from the University of Worcester.

“I left school with just a few GCSEs,” she said. “When my mother died school work went out of the window.

“I spent about eight years as a hairdresser and I also worked abroad for a few years as a holiday rep. Then when I got past 30 I guess I had a bit of a panic and thought I should get some qualifications. I wanted to do it for me as a personal achievement really.”

Laura, who has been a support worker for the charity Headway and is now working as a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) teacher, enrolled on an Access course at Worcester Sixth Form College, through which she found her love of English.

“I decided to do an English degree and absolutely loved it,” said the 35-year-old. “I cannot believe that it’s over now; it went so quickly.”

She added: “When I started my degree I just wanted to pass it, but as time went on I really wanted to do well and get a good class degree. I realised the importance of it and the need to work hard.

“I loved the professional writing and writing magazine articles and I was involved in the Ledbury Poetry Festival, which was fantastic.

“I’m really proud of myself for achieving a 2:1; I have done it for my mum.”