Lewis Jones - Coleg Gwent, Pontypool

Lewis Jones

Lewis studied the HND Public Services at Coleg Gwent Pontypool campus and progressed to the final year of the BA (Hons) degree at the University of South Wales’ Pontypridd campus.

What made you choose to study a HND in college?

I always wanted to go to university, but at the time, I didn’t do too well at school and I thought that University would be beyond my reach. After spending time with the Reserves for the Armed Forces, I started to look at courses in my local college. I discovered that Coleg Gwent offered university qualifications like HNDs and Foundation Degrees with a pathway to a full degree at the University of South Wales. It was refreshing to see that as I was mature applicant, they took into consideration my life and work experience from my time spent in the Reserves. The HND course was available at the Coleg Gwent Pontypool campus in my local community, which meant that it was accessible so I decided to apply.

Did you enjoy the course? What were the benefits of the doing the degree locally?

I really enjoyed my time studying the HND at Coleg Gwent. The other students in my class have been great, and we jelled well as a group. I have had the opportunity to make new friends whilst improving my confidence and subject knowledge. For me personally, the biggest advantage is that the environment was familiar. I knew the college and the surroundings and it was convenient for me to commute back and forth whilst managing other commitments. 

The course also has a clear progression pathway to the BA (Hons) Public Services top-up course at the University, which offers students the opportunity to progress. Effectively, I can study the HND for two years in my local college with the option of graduating or progressing to USW to top-up with one extra year of full-time study.

How are you feeling about the top-up year?

I always had my mind set on wanting to complete the HND and then to progress to the top-up year so I can achieve a full degree. Whilst studying in college we have had the opportunity to visit USW’s Pontypridd campus to meet our University tutors. Likewise, we have also had visits from USW staff to our college. We also had a talk form the University’s Progression Assistant who supported us with our online applications for the top-up year and informed us about the £500 Progression Bursary. The whole process has been straightforward.  

Most of the other students in my class are also progressing to the top-up year. I am looking forward to this aspect as we are all on the same journey together and we will be able to continue to support one another. I am excited about the top-up year and I am determined to complete the course. It is just one more step to achieving the full degree. I know I need to continue to work hard and put in the effort but it will be worthwhile. 

Would you suggest this route to someone else in your position?

By studying this route, it has opened up so many opportunities for me whilst improving my confidence. It has allowed me to access a University qualification in a way that has been convenient and cost effective.