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First class degree brings job satisfaction for Preston dad

18 July 2013

John Edwards

Mature student is looking forward to career change

Pic: Father-of-four Darren Lynch has proved going back into the classroom has been worth it after graduating from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) with a First.

A Preston dad who has overcome some major life challenges is looking forward to a new career after graduating with a first class honours degree from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

BA(Hons) Social Work student Darren Lynch was delighted to celebrate his achievement at UCLan’s graduation ceremony this week.

It was a particularly satisfying moment for the 45-year-old from Hutton, who, having lost his job in sales returned to education after 24 years.

He said: “I’ve always been driven by social justice and when I lost my job it gave me the opportunity to do something I was passionate about rather than something that just earned me money."

“It’s been a long hard road but I’m elated to finally graduate. I think a lot of people didn’t believe I could do it so to get a first is quite gratifying.”

darren_lynch

“It’s been a long hard road but I’m elated to finally graduate. I’ve been studying for four years because I had to do a foundation year having been out of education for so long. I think a lot of people didn’t believe I could do it so to get a first is quite gratifying.”

Throughout his degree the father-of-four felt the pressure of having to provide for his family and also had to cope with seeing his youngest son being taken seriously ill 12 months ago.

“This time last year we nearly lost our youngest son. He contracted Meningoencephalitis and he went from just feeling sleepy to being in intensive care at Alder Hey Hospital. It could have given us a massive set back and I might not have returned to my studies, but we’re a resilient family.”

“It’s been especially difficult being a mature male student. You’re expected to provide for your family; you’re not supposed to go to university and I’ve been judged quite a lot over the past few years.”

He added: “It’s been especially difficult being a mature male student. You’re expected to provide for your family; you’re not supposed to go to university and I’ve been judged quite a lot over the past few years.”

During his studies Darren completed three work placements which he believes are a testament to the quality of UCLan’s course and reaffirmed that he made the right decision to return to study. He will begin a Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methodologies in September and is hoping to combine this with starting a career he enjoys.

“I’m applying for work like it’s going out of fashion. I’ve kept my search quite narrow because I want to work with people with specific vulnerabilities; either looked after children or ex-offenders.

“I spent my entire working career chasing pound notes but it doesn’t necessarily bring you the satisfaction that you need. I’m not going to earn the money that I did but I’m going to have job satisfaction and I’ll be doing something that makes a difference.”