Prior to enrolling at Preston’s College, Robert volunteered for a range of national organisations, including Samaritans and mental health charity, Mind. It was during his time training and subsequently working as a volunteer for these organisations that Robert realised his ambition was to pursue a career in counselling.
After researching both the steps he would need to take to make this ambition a reality and counselling courses offered in the local area, Robert enrolled onto the Level 3 Counselling Skills course at Preston’s College in 2016. Upon successful completion, Robert took the decision to become a full-time student, enrolling on the two-year Foundation degree in person-centred Counselling and Psychotherapy, also offered at Preston’s College.
The Foundation degree, a highly practical qualification focusing on the person centred model of counselling theory and practice, requires all learners to undertake a mandatory placement as part of the degree, known as clinical work experience. Commenting on this element of the programme, Robert said:
“The experience of being on placement during the Foundation degree was invaluable and has formed a really important part of both my study and career journey. The placement experience gave me the chance to put the skills and learning from the classroom into practice with clients, as a professional in a real-life setting, whilst also allowing me to shadow and learn from highly experienced practitioners.”
Through the support of Preston’s College teaching staff, hard work and outstanding placement reviews, Robert graduated from the Foundation degree in 2019. Deciding to pursue his studies to BSc (Hons) level, Robert progressed with Preston’s College, joining the one year BSc (Hons) Top-up degree in September. During this time, Robert also secured paid employment as a bank counsellor within the NHS, allowing him to gain additional experience, whilst putting higher level study into practice, as he regularly manages his own caseload of clients and makes important clinical decisions on their care.
With plans to graduate in summer 2020, with a full BSc (Hons) degree awarded by The University of Derby but studied locally in Preston, Robert hopes his wealth of experience and additional qualifications will allow him to secure full-time employment as a professional counsellor.