graduation caps being thrown in the airFastrack proved such a successful route into higher education for Elizabeth Richards that she went on to teach it!

Previously a Finance Manager and Retail Network Manager, she was initially reluctant to return to study at the age of 40.

“I did not do particularly well at school and although I had A-Levels they would not have been good enough to get me a place at university, so I had been hugely apprehensive”, admitted Elizabeth.

However, the decision to pursue the Social Sciences Fastrack Programme as part of the 2004 intake was one of her better ones…

“It was like a light had been switched on. I fully engaged with the course content, as well as the academic skills and personal development elements. The experience gave me a huge amount of confidence that I could go on and do well at undergraduate level. I came from a working-class background and was the first person in my family to attend university.”

Elizabeth went on to study Childhood and Youth Studies and Sociology, being awarded a first-class honours degree, as well as picking up the Hazel Richardson Study Prize for achieving the highest overall average mark across the Faculty of Art and Sciences graduates.

“Subsequently, I completed two postgraduate certificates for which I was awarded distinctions and I remained at Edge Hill after graduation to teach Fastrack and Fastforward [the online version of Fastrack].”

Tutoring and lecturing in Social Sciences followed, before Elizabeth took up a full-time lecturer role in the Department of Social Sciences, becoming a permanent member of staff in 2014.

“I would never have done any of this had it not been for the opportunities afforded me by Fastrack”, she said.

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: