Success Stories: Ashleigh (Functional Skills)

After a serious incident threatened her health and wellbeing, Ashleigh found career inspiration in the most unlikely of circumstances. Discover how she became a qualified nurse, and how Oxbridge helped, in her Success Story.

Sometimes it takes a significant life event to show you the way forward. Whether that’s having children, falling ill or moving somewhere new – lots of things can tell you when it’s time to take the next step in your career.

We’re always excited to hear where our students have come from and where they hope to go in the future. Everyone has a story to tell and unique aspirations for the future, and we love finding out how our distance learning courses contribute to their career journey.


Success Stories is all about shining a light on the achievements and accomplishments of our alumni. Join us as we hear from Ashleigh, a recent graduate from our Functional Skills course, as she fills us in on the ins and outs of gaining a qualification through distance learning. 

My Journey to Nursing

My name’s Ashleigh, and I’m a student at the University of Luton training to become a registered nurse. It’s my dream role, but it wasn’t always this way, and I nearly lost my opportunity to one fleeting moment.

From a young age, I lived a nomadic lifestyle, travelling from place to place. Leaving England behind, I was inspired by a new culture and made lifelong friends. But during my travels, I contracted malaria at age 21 and nearly died. The malaria caused my brain to swell. It was very serious and VERY dangerous.

I was transported to the UK, where I was treated on the NHS by nursing staff who were amazing. It was the first time I knew nursing was for me. I began caring for the elderly in the UK, working 12-hour shifts, seven days a week, to save money so I could move out of my parents’ house and focus on moving up the career ladder.

An Opportunity Worth Saving

Once on my feet, I enrolled on a flexi-nursing degree at the University of Luton. Excited about my new direction, I was raring to make a difference. But that’s when I encountered another obstacle: officials at Luton notified me that my GCSE qualifications were not valid due to recent changes in legislation.

I was expelled with immediate effect unless I produced evidence of the latest English and Maths certification. I appealed Luton’s decision and was given an ultimatum: pass my Level 2 qualifications within the month to be accepted back onto the course or quit. My dream for the future was on the line, but I couldn’t give up.

Refusing to accept the circumstances I found myself in, I immediately started searching for a college to sit my English Level 2. Everywhere expected me to do at least a 16-week programme before sitting the final exam. That was until my friend, Sam, recommended Oxbridge, who assisted my request by fast-tracking my learning.


The Distance Learning Experience

I was surprised by Oxbridge’s efficiency. Here I was, expelled, praying for a miracle, and next, I was enrolled on Functional Skills English Level 2, learning from my living room. I was fully prepared to invest in my future because it was a ‘now or never’ scenario. Turning my dining room into a library, I found myself thoroughly enjoying the topics.

After a whirlwind of setbacks, my learning journey was starting to fall in place. Previously, I found traditional learning at college a chore. But as a distance learning student, I was more comfortable at home where I was free from distractions.

I’d highly recommend Oxbridge to anyone who is serious about learning and their future. The team at Oxbridge are lovely and have a true ethos of caring and will support you no matter what. For me, they did what no other college could, and for that, my career has flourished, and I’ve become a better version of myself.

I know lots of people at the hospital where I work who will also need to complete their Functional Skills Maths and English exams because of the changing legislation. I’m already speaking with Oxbridge about partnering with the hospital so that all of the exams can be taken in one place to keep things cost-effective.

Are you inspired by Ashleigh’s tale of success? Perhaps you’re ready to take the next step in your career journey? Whatever your aspirations for the future, we’re confident we can help you achieve your goals. For more information on our full programme of distance learning courses, visit the homepage or call our expert course advisers on 0161 630 3000.