A student who has gone the extra mile to support mature learners returning to education has been recognised with a prestigious University Scholarship.

Michèle Riley, from Ormskirk, started higher education in 2016 through the Fastrack programme, Edge Hill University’s intensive access course for adults, going on to complete a degree in Nutrition and Health with First Class Honours. As well as excelling in her studies, Michèle has given time and energy to inspiring others to follow in her footsteps.

“Studying at Edge Hill has been one of the best experiences of my life and has improved my confidence and self-esteem”, she said. “I always thought I wasn’t clever enough to do a degree until I enrolled on Fastrack and went from strength to strength.

“The teaching staff, facilities and support are excellent and there is help available whenever you need it. If anyone reading this is considering returning to education later in life, my advice is to do it and the Fastrack Programme will prepare you for academic study.”

Janet Fairclough, Access Programmes Manager at Edge Hill, said:

“Right from the start of Michèle’s journey with Edge Hill she has always been someone who has shown great passion for her chosen subject and wanted to make a difference.

“Although fully committed to her degree studies, Michèle was so appreciative of the opportunity to come back to study as a mature learner, that she wanted to give something back.

“Michèle has shown her appreciation by giving up her free time to volunteer and support the promotion of the Fastrack programme. Michèle has been an excellent advocate and given her time to meet with applicants and new students. She has also given up her time to be a student representative and take part in student focus groups. She has always given a friendly and down to earth representation of what being a mature learner at University is like.”

There was a key figure on Michèle’s mind when she picked up her degree and scholarship, worth £2,000, awarded to students who help to raise the profile of Edge Hill in a positive way through their exceptional contribution to the University. Michèle said:

“My father, James Henry Riley (known as Harry), used to be a Maths lecturer at Edge Hill many years ago, before it became a university. I wish he was still here to see my achievements, he would be very proud. Fortunately, my brother, John, and two sisters, Mary and Jacintha, were able to attend my graduation ceremony and shared in my success. It was a truly joyous and memorable day.

“Winning the award is simply a wonderful feeling and I would like to especially thank those who nominated me. I am overjoyed. It came as a complete surprise and I feel honoured and very proud to be awarded it.”

To find out more about studying Fastrack click here.