A mum of five, who found herself single shortly before returning to higher education, has overcome the challenges of balancing studies with a busy home life, to qualify as a midwife.
Mature student Aimi Holmes, 37, from Horsham, first came to Chester in 1999 to study Applied Biology and fell in love with the University and the city.
Thirteen years later, when she returned to formal education to pursue her dream career in Midwifery, she could think of no better place to do this than at Chester. Attending an open day and finding the lecturers welcoming and passionate about their subject, she knew it would be the best place for her to undertake her degree.
Having worked in the health care profession for many years, Aimi knew that she wanted to be a midwife after having her own children and receiving fantastic midwifery care. In order to do this Aimi first completed an Access to Healthcare diploma before then going on to study a BSc (Hons) in Midwifery at the Riverside Campus.
Returning to education proved very challenging for Aimi, whose marriage ended just a few weeks before she started her degree, leaving her alone to care for her young children. Without any local family support, Aimi had to commit to studying in the early mornings and evenings in order to minimise disruption to her children’s lives. Her local friends were also of immense help to her, happily stepping in to provide emergency childcare when Aimi attended various placements as part of her course.
She also credits her course tutors’ support and encouragement for enabling her to manage her academic studies alongside her family responsibilities.
Aimi said: “I have had excellent support from the university. My personal tutor Jo Bates has been fantastic throughout the entire degree with all academic, placement and personal support issues. All the lecturers are very approachable and are happy to help at any time with the academic side of the course.
“The staff in the library and study skills have been really great sources of advice and support with academic aspects such as referencing or finding relevant literature for essays.
“Our departmental secretary, Shirley Bowers has also been a great source of support and information, sharing learning opportunities such as study days with us.”
Due to her personal circumstances, Aimi has felt the need to push herself as hard as possible during her degree, both for her own self-confidence and also to show her children what hard work can achieve.
She feels the determination she has put into her studies has been well worth the effort, and is looking forward to enjoying the career she has worked so hard for.
Aimi said: “The University of Chester has helped me to achieve my dream of becoming a midwife by supporting and encouraging me through my degree. The staff are all exceptional and have been happy to help in any way possible throughout my three years as a student.
“Gaining a Midwifery degree has enabled me to pursue my dream career as a midwife and care for women and their families during the life changing experiences of pregnancy and birth.”
Aimi was awarded the Health and Social Care Prize at Valedictory, the University’s annual prize-giving service, for the student deemed to have demonstrated the best academic progress.
Karen Lunt, senior lecturer in health and Social Care, said: “Aimi has achieved a lot with her hard work and dedication and she is a role model for her fellow students and her family.
“Aimi will be a safe, effective professional, who will be respected and an inspiration to staff, students and women alike.”