Out of the kitchen and into the LSE: Access helps chef change career

17 July 2015 Out of the kitchen and into the LSE: Access helps chef change career

Victor Howard who has been offered a place to study International Relations at LSE after studying Access at City and Islington

Victor Howard is celebrating being offered a place to study a BSc in International Relations at the London School of Economics after completing an Access to Higher Education Diploma at City and Islington College.

Victor achieved the place after excelling on the International Relations and Politics Diploma at the College’s Centre for Lifelong Learning at Finsbury Park.

When Victor was 8 years old he moved to England from New Jersey with his mum and brother, leaving his dad behind. His mum, despite suffering from a mental illness, has since dedicated her life to Victor’s severely autistic brother.

Feeling isolated, he did not achieve the A Level grades he was capable of and decided to train to become a chef. After finishing this course a close family member passed away and for two years he suffered with depression and hated working in a Michelin star restaurant.

A new girlfriend, however, spotted his potential and encouraged him to return to education.

“I never felt too old or the odd one out on the course because so many others were in the same position as me.”

He said: “I thought I had missed my chance to go to university, but she encouraged me to believe that it was still possible.

“I had increasingly become interested in politics and international relations. I had really good friends who talked to me about race and gender politics and that summer conflict had erupted between Israel and Gaza, which I was following closely on the news. I was living in Finsbury Park and I found out about the Access course at the College and enrolled.

“I instantly found the course incredibly relevant and my tutors were engaging and enthusiastic about their subjects, which fuelled my own interest.

“At school we were just talked at, but studying Access we have discussions and debates on topics such as the US and China’s tense relationship, the Israel Palestine conflict and the Vietnam War.”

Asked about why he would encourage other adults to return to education through the Access route, he said: “What I have realised is that life is not a race; there is time. It is never too late to return to education and set your sights high.

“I never felt too old or the odd one out on the course because so many others were in the same position as me.”

Once he finishes his degree, Victor would like to study a Masters in Economics or do a Law conversion course.

Inspired? Follow this link to find out more about studying Access to Higher Education at City and Islington College.

Access to HE

Didn't study A Levels but want to go to university? Access courses will help you achieve your ambition.

Funding for Adult Courses

Funding for Adult Courses

If you are aged 19+ there is help available to fund your course. Take a look here.