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Mum-of-three’s positive career swap

26 July 2013

Rachel Atkinson

Nelson graduate celebrates after gaining First in counselling and psychotherapy  

Pic: Mum of three and University of Central Lancashire graduate Alyson Andrew who is continuing her studies at the University of Cambridge.

A Nelson mum-of-three has swapped consulting for counselling to embark on a whole new career path.

Alyson Andrew, who spent 17 years working as an IT education consultant, graduated recently from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) with a First Class degree in Counselling and Psychology, after motherhood and some upheaval in her personal life changed her priorities.

Despite being completely new to the world of academia, Alyson took to studying like a duck to water and has even secured herself a place at the University of Cambridge, where she’ll study for her Postgraduate Diploma in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapeutic Counselling. 

“I was immediately interested in UCLan’s course offering, and with the added benefit of being close to home, UCLan quickly became a no-brainer.”

The 39-year-old said: “When I left school all those years ago, I would never have believed I’d be studying again.

“I went through a period of time where I was utterly miserable in my role, so much so that I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I knew going back to that line of work wasn’t an option for me – and as a mum of three, being close to my children was my main priority.

“Having had counselling myself, I knew what a difference it can make so I started to explore the options of training in counselling. I was immediately interested in UCLan’s course offering, and with the added benefit of being close to home, UCLan quickly became a no-brainer.” 

“Getting in to Cambridge has been unreal. My time at UCLan has definitely prepared me for the opportunity to continue my learning.”

Alyson, who has daughters are aged four, nine and 15, managed to combine studying with volunteering at a local children’s charity, The Place to Be, after seeing a flyer at UCLan advertising volunteer vacancies.

“Getting in to Cambridge has been unreal. My time at UCLan has definitely prepared me for the opportunity to continue my learning. I’m thankful to the teaching staff at UCLan for helping me achieve all I have in the past few years, while continuing to work with children and put the theory into practice.”

Alyson will continue to work at The Place to Be throughout her postgraduate diploma and has said she’d ideally like to take on a full-time role there eventually.