Phiwa Simelane

"When I left school, I didn't have qualifications good enough for nursing, so the Degree Link provided me the opportunity to get the grades required."

Year 1: HNC Care & Administrative Practice
Years 2 & 3: B Nursing (Adult Nursing)
Currently: ARI - In-Patient Radiology

Why did you choose the Degree Link Route?

After being out of education for a while, I needed a study route to ease myself back into education — more specifically, nursing. When I left school, I didn't have qualifications good enough for nursing, so the Degree Link provided me the opportunity to get the grades required. I was a young mum working in a coffee shop; I needed to challenge myself and this was best route to slowly get back into education.

What has been the best thing about the experience?

I have grown a lot throughout the years. The challenges that come with being a young mum, working full–time and being in full–time education have been eye opening to say the least. My daughter and mum seeing me graduate after years of hard graft was the by far the best thing!

What's the best thing about studying at NESCol?

NESCol was a stepping–stone for me. It was calm, the course was paced evenly and the support I got was phenomenal. There was always help available.

I found the courses at NESCol to be more intense compared to RGU. In the end, that was very beneficial as that prepared us for progressing into 2nd year in RGU. NESCol is definitely a good start if you've been out of education for a while and want to ease back into things and pace yourself.

What's the best thing about studying at RGU?

RGU enabled me to see the real world of work through clinical placements. Even though RGU was a step closer to me becoming a Staff Nurse, the level of work you put in makes you realise how serious of a job you're about to go into. The support from RGU was excellent both personally and academically.

I've also made lifelong friends. People I started College with have become my closest group of friends — it was lovely to be on the same journey together. We're still friends to this day.

Would you recommend Degree Link to other students? Why?

Oh yes, absolutely. This course is your best option if you've been out of education for a while. The course contents are very easy to understand and there is lots of help available if and when needed. With clinical placements, you're prepared for the outside world. There is a support available at placements as well. I will say though: this course is not for the weak. You have to be mentally and emotionally prepared for it. It's all worth it in the end. If I was to go back in time, I'd still choose the Degree Link.