Alexadria Best undertook our Access to Higher Education programme and graduated from Sussex University with a degree in Social Work. She is studying for her Masters in Criminal Law and Criminology and is currently teaching Counselling level 2 here at PACA Adult Learning. 

Alexandria is happy to share her story to inspire others:

“My early childhood experience was very challenging. I experienced overt and covert racial discrimination in mainstream school from both pupils and teachers.

In addition, my mother misused alcohol and drugs resulting in involvement from social services. At a young age I became responsible for my younger brothers and made sure that they were cared for at home. My low aspirations reflected my notion of the big gap between my actual self and life chances and my ideal self, what I hoped to become. I think that the recognition of my sporting success, I was asked to join the youth GB team for hurdling, was a turning point.

Being diagnosed with dyslexia provided an explanation for my learning challenges. Whilst living in America I started volunteering at women’s centres and youth centres and realised that I had a great deal to offer in these roles. The confidence gained by helping others led me to apply for an Access course several years ago and since then, I have never looked back. On the Access course I developed a range of essential skills that provided me with the determination, focus and academic ability to study for a degree. After completing my Degree in Social Work I worked with different client groups including children experiencing harmful sexual abuse.  

Despite experiencing a close family bereavement that affected my mental health, the motivation and determination to achieve my academic potential saved me again. I have stayed in regular contact with Michele Ponting, the Course Manager at PACA Adult Learning, and supported the current students by working as a volunteer Teaching Assistant in my spare time. I am now studying for a Masters Degree in Law and have been asked to consider studying for a doctorate in the future.

Alexandria with her brothers

To summarise, the turning point in my life was to have the confidence to apply for an Access Diploma and be willing to ask for help when I needed it. I feel very thankful that I am able to inspire and mentor Access students at PACA Adult Learning; my intention is to teach on the Access course and this will complete the circle of my academic success.”

Alexandria has done amazingly well and we are absolutely proud and thrilled to have her as part of our academic team here at PACA Adult Learning.

Please call us on 01273 422 632 or email Michele Ponting on M.Ponting@paca.uk.com to book on to our next Access Open Day.

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