A former student at Wiltshire College & University Centre is on the path towards a successful career in archaeology having reignited his academic journey through an Access to Higher Education course.
Rhys Thomas enrolled on the one-year Access to HE programme at the College’s Salisbury campus back in 2014 at the age of 25, having previously left school without A Levels.
The Access to HE Diploma is a qualification which prepares people without traditional qualifications for study at university. This summer, one graduate from the College’s latest cohort of Access to HE students was offered a place to read at the University of Cambridge.
Studying the course allowed Rhys to begin to pursue his passion for archaeology and he has since gone onto achieve a Postgraduate Diploma and now hopes to complete a PhD in the near future.
Rhys, now 34, explained: “I didn’t complete my A Levels at school and started working for the NHS in an administration role. After nearly five years of doing this, I wanted to try to become a department manager and work my way up the ladder but having a degree was a requirement to progress beyond a certain level.
“I decided to take some time out from work to complete an undergraduate degree. After exploring my options as to how I could enrol on a course without A Levels, the Access to Higher Education course at Salisbury was the answer.
“Whilst on the course, my initial thoughts of studying an administration-related degree such as Business Studies changed, and I decided to enrol on a history-related course as this is my passion.
“After studying the Access to Higher Education course at Salisbury I went to Swansea University and studied an undergraduate degree and then obtained a PGDip.
“I was due to study a Masters degree in Roman Archaeology at the University of Exeter but Covid interrupted my plans and I decided to defer my course and complete it part-time, which I will be doing this year whilst working part-time as well.
“Whilst completing my Masters, I intend to volunteer with Wessex Archaeology as much as I can, with a view to working for them in a year.
“My ultimate aim is to complete a PhD, a PGCE or stay within the archaeology field. However, I suspect that a year or two worth of work experience should give me enough knowledge to embark upon a PhD – at least, I hope!
“My academic journey has been a success and it all started with the Access to Higher Education course at the College, so I owe everyone there a big thank-you.
“It had its ups and downs but I am very glad I did it. The challenge was great and I have become stronger in many ways by embarking upon it.”
Access to Higher Education courses are available at the College’s Lackham, Salisbury and Trowbridge campuses. For more information, click here.