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More than 200 students celebrate graduation from UEL's New Beginnings course

Students working

Programme encourages access to higher education

Mothers, secretaries, former security guards, grammar school assistants and even a 71-year old designer – all were among the 200 students who graduated this year from the University of East London’s (UEL) innovative New Beginnings programme.

New Beginnings is a specially designed academic course for people who do not have sufficient formal qualifications to start university, or have been out of education for a prolonged period of time.

The programme gives people from all backgrounds and ages a chance to pursue a degree course at UEL, and is part of the University’s commitment to widening access to higher education. 

More than 60 students attended a graduation celebration (pictured above with course lecturers) in August at UEL’s University Square Stratford campus.

The day brought together students who completed the 12-week New Beginnings course at different points in the year, giving them a chance to meet new people and share their experiences.

Staff and students also noted the achievements of the first cohorts of New Beginnings Intensive – a fast-track version of the programme that gives selected applicants the opportunity to complete the course in one week. 

The crowd broke into a special, rousing round of applause for New Beginnings programme leader Dr Caroline McGlynn and administrative officer Wasan Shoresh, who provided support to participants from start to finish. 

A large number of New Beginnings graduates have received scholarships to assist with expenses once they begin studying for their degrees at UEL in September.

Ms Shoresh said, “It’s very rewarding for me to see students from different backgrounds and life experiences coming to UEL and growing in confidence and learning academic research and writing..

“Seeing them go on to pursue their dreams of starting an undergraduate degree is great. This is definitely one of the most fulfilling parts of my job."

UEL’s Information, Advice and Guidance team offers advice about accessing higher education opportunities, including through the New Beginnings programme. Find out more information here.