Michelle’s now a college convert

Michelle Cardwell, mature student.
Michelle Cardwell, mature student.
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Learning changes lives – and Sheffield University student Michelle Cardwell is keen to show others how it is done.

The 37-year-old enjoyed a fresh start when she went back to college three years ago – and is now taking a degree course in English literature and history.

It is a far cry from the dark days when she left home aged 17, the victim of abuse at home and a badly disrupted childhood.

Michelle was forced to sleep rough in a park and in empty garages, before ending up in a hostel for homeless young people in her hometown of Rotherham.

Michelle went on to marry young and have three children – before realising something was missing.

She enrolled on a university access course at Doncaster College, gained the highest possible marks and is now enjoying life as a mature student.

Now Michelle is due to share her experiences and give others the advice they may need at her own self-funded event at Sheffield United’s VIP Superbox on Thursday, July 25, at 10.30am.

She said: “I feel people from similar backgrounds as mine simply aren’t aware of the options open to them.

“The aim of the event is to bring together as much information as possible that is relevant to adult learners.

“For example what courses there are, details of colleges, financial information and practical issues like child care.”

“Because of my experiences, I have become passionate about the benefits of returning to education.

“I’ve arranged this event with the support of the university’s mature students committee and United’s community foundation.”

Michelle said she had been a promising pupil at school, but left with few qualifications due to her troubled home life.

She said: “Later when my youngest daughter started secondary school I suddenly realised that I had no longer had any real purpose.

“My children were becoming less dependant on me, so I needed to find something else to fill my days.

“I had always regretted not studying history at school, so I decided that was what I would do.”