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CLASS OF 2020: Kiera is the first in her family to graduate


“Studying has identified both strengths and weaknesses for me, which is a good thing. I had to focus my efforts on time management but had lots of support from the University.”

Kiera Matthews, 29 who is originally from Cornwall but lives in Cannock, is the first member of her family to graduate after she successfully completed a Nursing Associate Foundation Degree Apprenticeship at the University of Wolverhampton.

Kiera works as a Nursing Associate in Orthopaedics at New Cross Hospital, Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, who funded her studies through the Apprenticeship Levy.

She originally studied for a Level 3 BTEC in Health & Social Care after completing her GCSEs and has worked in the healthcare sector for over 10 years, moving from domiciliary care to more specialised care for patients with complex conditions such as brain injuries and strokes. She worked her way up to becoming a Team Leader, doing risk assessments for brain injuries before moving to care for people with learning disabilities.

She said: “I had always wanted to go to University and get a degree. No one in my family has a degree and it was a personal goal of mine.  Unfortunately, at the time it didn’t slot in with my life circumstances so I joined the NHS in Cornwall but wasn’t sure which speciality I wanted to focus on so I worked in a multi-disciplinary team to gain more perspective.

“When I joined RWT in 2016 I worked as a Bank Health Care Assistant, before joining Orthopaedics in 2017. I did lots of things to develop myself like dementia training and studying for a Care Certificate. I had almost completed an Access course in 2016 and gained a place at university to become a nurse but struggled to manage the workload. When I was accepted in 2018, I was excited and nervous about starting the Nursing Associate Degree Apprenticeship.

“Studying has identified both strengths and weaknesses for me, which is a good thing. I’ve had to focus my efforts on time management but had lots of support from the University and my employers.  It hasn’t been an easy road to the finish line but I always wanted to do better and I enjoy learning. I am extremely proud to say that I now have a degree with distinction and my NMC PIN.

“I’ve made lots of friends, the module leads and tutors go out of their way to support you and I’ve learned that you can and should reach out for help if you need it.  I’m looking forward to continuing to develop new skills in my new role as Nursing Associate and the wide ranging responsibilities that go with that.”

Class of 2020 graduate successes will be celebrated on the University’s Alumni Facebook page as well as their Instagram and Twitter channels. Graduates are invited to share photos, thank you messages and memories of their time at the University of Wolverhampton. 

Graduates are encouraged to keep in touch with the Alumni team and take advantage of a range of benefits and support on offer to them including a discount for Postgraduate study and opportunities to benefit from mentoring, volunteering and career advice. 

Anyone looking to study at the University of Wolverhampton should register for one of our forthcoming Open Days. 

For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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