A learner from the Gateway Qualifications Access to HE (Nursing and Midwifery) has been named runner-up in the Outstanding Commitment to Study category for the Keith Fletcher Awards 2021-2022.

Gemma Lee is a single mother of three, with an ambition of working in the health industry. Overcoming many personal hurdles prompted a change in direction and a return to education.

Gemma left school aged 15 with no GCSEs and had not taken any formal education for a number of years. Facing significant trauma after a 10-year career as a truck driver on top of the loss of her 7-week-old son, Gemma was inspired to become a children’s nurse following the fantastic care from her local hospital.

With no formal qualifications but a career goal in mind, Gemma returned to education, studying Access to HE (Nursing & Midwifery) at Mediprospects Ltd. alongside English and Maths. For her own personal development and experience, Gemma started working part-time in a secure unit for young people needing support for Mental Ill Health and Self-Harm alongside her studies.

“Being a single parent to three children, studying and working has been extremely difficult. I have had to fit lots of study time into my already busy life. I gave up many evenings out with friends and family, and often stayed up till the early hours of the morning to finish assignments. Help from tutors and my study group got me through it, too!” – Gemma Lee

While her dedication to study is to be admired, she believes her success is thanks to her tutors.

“Without the fantastic support from Donna, Lisa, and Sarah, I wouldn’t have been able to complete my studies or reach the merits and distinctions that I achieved. If someone had asked me five years ago if I thought I would be studying, I would have laughed; never did I think it was a possibility for me.” – Gemma Lee

Returning to education after 18 years was always going to be a challenge, however, Gemma’s hard work, enthusiasm and resilience are a testament to her determination to succeed.

“Gemma has been a phenomenal learner. She listened to every single piece of advice and developmental feedback from the delivery team, attended classes religiously, and completed the Access to HE course with 7 Distinctions and 5 Merits – in addition to Level 2 English and Level 1 Maths (Level 2 is ongoing).” – Donna Simmonds, Access to HE Team Leader, Mediprospects

Proudest moments of her dad’s life

Gemma’s dad was diagnosed terminally ill in the last year and she became his full-time carer. Towards the end of her Access to HE course, Gemma’s dad was given just a few weeks to live. This led her to defer university applications so she could spend more time with him.

Her dad was able to celebrate Gemma’s success and saw her complete her course with incredible success, being awarded Access to HE Learner of the Year by Mediprospects Ltd. and nominated for the Keith Fletcher Awards prize.

Gemma’s dad sadly passed away in September 2022 but described her accomplishments as “one of his proudest moments.”

Gemma and other successful candidates for the Keith Fletcher Prize will be invited to join a special presentation event, where they will receive a certificate and cheque to help them with their future study.

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