Belinda Hamilton (LLB 2017)

I left school without taking any qualifications and had always felt that I never knew my academic capabilities. I spent my adult life wanting that piece of paper that stated Belinda Hamiltonthat demonstrated what I was academically capable of achieving. In every job application and subsequent interview I had to explain my reasons for not taking qualifications and explain how, although I lacked the qualifications, I was more than capable of carrying out the role I was applying for.

When my children went to school, I went to college to train to be a hairdresser to enable me to work around them. I trained for three years but found that I had enjoyed the studying far more than hairdressing itself. Very soon after I went to work in adult education but my desire to learn was still in the back of my mind, although I had no idea how to do this without school qualifications.

One of my friends was studying Law part-time at the University of Buckingham and I saw the commitment required but also how rewarding he was finding the course, so I took the plunge and applied; all the time thinking I would be refused due to my lack of academic qualifications. I admit that on paper I would have questioned my capability to succeed in studying for a Law Degree and I clearly remember promising the lecturer that “If you give me a place on the course, you WILL see me graduate!” Thankfully Buckingham takes life experiences into consideration as well as my interview and I was given a place on the LLB part-time course. The course was fascinating, I was learning so many things and I loved every minute of it. We were taught all of the skills required to succeed with support when required for the assignments as well as the exams.

The four years of the course flew and although the subject matter is in depth and not always easy to grasp initially, the support was excellent and I found I was growing so much in both knowledge, understanding and most of all academic confidence. It is still difficult to explain the euphoria I felt at not only passing the course, but being awarded a 2:1 and finally I have the piece of paper I craved throughout my adult life.

Since passing the course, I have been promoted at work from an Administrator to Contracts & Legal Specialist, in charge of reviewing all internal and external contracts and terms and conditions. I am also dealing with both Company and the legal elements of Human Resources and have also applied to be a Magistrate. I am also going to study the Level 7 Advanced CIPD Diploma in September.

Studying Law at the University of Buckingham has been the most amazing experience which not only provided me with the knowledge I needed to advance my career, but it gave me the confidence and self-belief to finally know my own ability.