Gay Kowo smiling with Chancellor Tanya Byron

Gay pictured on her graduation day with former Chancellor Prof Tanya Byron.

The route to higher educational attainment via Fastrack sated Gay Kowo’s thirst for knowledge when she embarked on her course in 2011.

“I first heard about Fastrack the year before, when I spoke to one of the Business School’s lecturers during an Open Day event. I had gone to Edge Hill with my husband to find out more about their Business degrees”, Gay recalls.

“It was during a discussion of my qualifications and when I was last in an educational setting that Fastrack was brought up. While I had taken a year out of my studies with the Open University, due to a new addition to our family, I knew I wanted to get my degree as soon as possible and to do so, I chose the programme.”

Gay had completed professional courses prior to Open University study, as well as experiencing working life in the publishing and fast-food industries, having turned down the opportunity to go to University following her A-Levels. But it was the feeling of unfinished business which persuaded her to reconsider.

“My mum obtained her undergraduate and Masters degrees when I was younger, whilst she was raising a young family and working full-time. I remember having a chat with both my mum and grandma about my visit to Edge Hill.

“They encouraged me to enrol, cheered me on until I finished the programme and I finally had a place on the undergraduate degree. Sadly, they never got to see me graduate but remained my champions throughout my studies.”

The free-of-charge Fastrack programme, which is 21 years old in June, allowed Gay to hone the necessary study skills required to enable her to take the next step.

“I found the programme extremely helpful as I had been out of school since the early 1990s”, she said. “Fastrack was a means to help me prepare for higher education by ensuring that I developed my subject knowledge and academic skills.

“When I started, I was worried that I would be the only mature student, but I met others like myself, as well as young adults. While Fastrack helped prepare me for higher education, it also enabled me to form lifelong friendships. Subsequently, a few years later, my husband also enrolled.”

Gay went on to earn a first-class degree in Business & Management: International Business, before going on to study for a Master of Enterprise in Business qualification, which opened other doors.

Gay with friends Precious Mandaza and Victoria Kudumba-Mhinda

“I also did a Graduate Teaching Assistant course, was invited to be a guest speaker for a Masters class and went on to study for a Postgraduate Diploma Further Education and Training. During this time I also lectured in subjects including Economics, Finance and Accounting, and provided one-to-one tutoring.”

Fastrack, which in June 2019 celebrates its 21st anniversary, offers adults the chance to gain the skills, understanding and confidence required for degree level, with training offered in essential study skills. The seven-week course is ideal for people who are looking to enter higher education but are not currently studying towards – or do not hold – the relevant Level 3 entry requirements.

To find out more about the Fastrack scheme, or to apply for the programme in 2020, see: