Access to Higher Education, Mature learners, Student Experience, Student Stories

Life after University – where are Go Highers now?

Many blogs here are written by Go Highers who have completed the foundation diploma and are now progressing along their undergraduate degree. But what happens after that? We have got in touch with some of our students from a while ago to find out what happened next…

James (age 31): Go Higher > Politics Degree > Civil Service Policy Officer

When I left school at 16, I did not know what career path I wanted to go down. I was more interested in socialising with friends, and I ended up working in a wide variety of roles, including call centre work, retail and within a fast-food restaurant. None of these jobs provided me with the satisfaction that I desired, so at age 26 I started to look for courses that I could take to enable me to go to university. It was actually one of my friends who spotted and informed me of the University of Liverpool’s Go Higher Access Programme. She even went to the trouble of emailing them on my behalf and really encouraged me to take part. I took her advice and enrolled on the programme in 2016. Following Go Higher I completed a Politics undergraduate degree and graduated (virtually) in 2020 with a first-class degree.

I really cannot praise the Go Higher programme enough – I would not be the person that I am now without it! I am now employed by the Civil Service as part of their graduate scheme, and I am currently working for the Department of Health and Social Care as a policy official, working on the Government’s response to COVID-19. I am really enjoying my new career so far and have gained particular satisfaction knowing that my work is helping some of the most vulnerable people in society.

Laurie (age 45): Go Higher > Sociology & Social Policy Degree > Social Work Manager

I regretted not attending university when I left school; I really wanted to experience student life and gain an education. Later when I began my career within social care, I realised that academically qualified individuals were being offered exciting employment opportunities; I had plenty of experience and knowledge to offer, with little education. For me, attending Go Higher was the very best experience for three reasons. First, it gave me confidence in my ability, and this definitely eased the transition onto degree level. Second, I met a group of fantastic people and we remain friends almost ten years on. Third, my career has flourished; I now manage a large Family Supervised Contact Service for the Liverpool area. The role is perfect for me – however, I would never have been given this opportunity without the confidence and support Go Higher gave me all those years ago. 

Emily (age 57): Go Higher > English & Philosophy degree > University Administrator

I wanted a change, after 27 years, from the job I had in the Civil Service. I had always wanted to study at university but just never thought I could. I rang the University of Liverpool philosophy department who suggested the adult access course ‘Go Higher’ as a way onto a full degree. I took one day a week, unpaid leave from my job to attend Go Higher for a year.

I had gone straight from school at 16 to Art School for two years, then onto a Higher National Diploma in Textile and Graphic design. I then did various jobs in the Art industry until I finally joined the Civil Service, Land Registry department in 1987. I only had 6 0’levels (not including Maths) which was ok for the Civil Service but not great for anything further. When I started the access course, I realized I could potentially do a degree, something that I had always imagined was beyond my capability. Go Higher taught me so much about Higher Education and the possibilities for adult learners, others on the course and the course leaders were so inspiring and encouraging. This course was an absolute game changer for me, I left a job and good income and started down a new path of expanding my knowledge. Many work colleagues were astounded and thought it was very brave (or stupid) to leave such steady employment at 50 and go back to university.

Go Higher made me realise anything was possible, I could re-train in any subject and start completely afresh, regardless of my age. After Go Higher I chose to do a degree in English and Philosophy at the University of Liverpool. The course was tough, but I graduated in 2017 with a 2.1. While I was studying at the University, I decided I would like to work there, give back to the organisation that had helped me so much. So, I applied for and got an internship in the Careers and Employability service on Campus. I then applied for and got a permanent job in the School of the Arts, Student Experience team looking after student attendance and engagement. It is strange sometimes to work with the Academics who taught me, but I genuinely love my job and the place I work in, Liverpool is such an amazing place, so welcoming. I have made friends for life from Go Higher, I still meet up with them for coffee and a chat about life and happy memories of our time on the course.

Ellis (age 51) > Go Higher > History degree > Recruitment Team Manager

After not being particularly well suited to school, and a lifetime of dead-end jobs, I was looking for something which would give me the opportunity to further my education in subject areas which  interested me. It was a chance to improve both my own outlook, and my career prospects at the same time. I applied for a place on the University of Liverpool ‘Go Higher’ Diploma, which allowed me to complete my studies and apply for a place at university, while also working. I went on to read for a BA Honours degree in History at the University of Liverpool. It has been invaluable in my career progression. Since completing my degree, I went on to work as a University Teacher on the Go Higher Diploma, and I am now working in student recruitment at another University. I manage a team of 25 staff and have responsibility for one of the high-profile, front-facing social media streams, as well as the main enquiry service for the University.


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