Bus driver finds route to success as a mature student

“I couldn't have asked for better lecturers, personal tutors and supervisors. They were brilliant and always there when you needed them.”

Phil Tweats, BA (Hons) Social Welfare Law, Policy and Advice Practice

Bus driver Phil left school with no qualifications but decided to turn his passion for helping others into a career and has graduated with a first class degree from Staffordshire University.

Phil Tweats, 48 from Berry Hill in Stoke-on-Trent, said: “People used to say I'm quite good at giving advice, listening and suggesting alternative approaches to things. One day someone asked if I'd ever considered doing it for a living.”

While taking time off work as a bus driver due to health reasons Phil decided to go back into education and completed a college course and access diploma before enrolling on the BA (Hons) Social Welfare Law, Policy and Advice Practice degree course at Staffordshire University.

Despite continuing to drive buses and dealing with the ill health of his father throughout his studies, Phil knuckled down and graduated with first class honours.

“I never thought I'd get a first in a million years and that’s the honest truth. To me that's an achievement because six years ago I didn't even know what social welfare was!” he commented.

“I couldn't have asked for better lecturers, personal tutors and supervisors. They were brilliant and always there when you needed them.”

Phil also credits the support from his manager at D & G Bus, Kevin Crawford, who attended his graduation.

“When I first told him I said, 'I want to better myself, there's so much more I can give’. Some bosses could’ve been funny but he was 100% behind me all the way.” Phil explained.

“Obviously, they have a business to run but they've always accommodated me going to uni and my boss is really chuffed!”

Phil is currently working for the Citizen's Advice helpline and wants to specialise in housing in future. Having experienced homelessness himself, spending a week living in his car several years ago, Phil hopes to help others facing similar hardship.

“There are so many vulnerable people out there. I've had personal problems when I've been vulnerable myself and just knowing you've got support can make all the difference."

Phil also hopes his story might inspire other mature students to follow their passion through education. He added: “It can be life changing if that's what you want. You can't approach it half-heartedly though. You've got to put the work in!"

From 17 August, prospective students can contact Staffordshire University for an offer on Snapchat, Facebook or Twitter. Until then, our Clearing Ambassadors will be manning social media platforms, offering live Q and As. Visitors to our dedicated Clearing webpages can find further help and advice and experience virtual tours of the University campus.

Find out more at http://www.staffs.ac.uk/clearing/ or call our Clearing hotline on 0800 590 830.

 

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