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Inspirational mother graduates from Cardiff University

20 July 2017

Amy Davies

A care leaver from Cwmbran will graduate from Cardiff University this week with a Master’s degree in Social Work, after overcoming significant hardships and completing her degree whilst caring for six foster children.

Amy Davies, 33, who currently lives in Pontypool, spent much of her childhood in foster care and, having been moved around a number of different schools, never considered herself to be academic or indeed worthy of going to university.

After finishing the two-year MA in Social Work last year, Amy now works as a fully qualified social worker for a local authority.

“I have to pinch myself when I go to work every day as I still can’t believe I’m a qualified social worker,” Amy said.

“I always thought that university was for clever people with lots of A-levels and GCSEs, but when I saw that Cardiff University would accept applicants with relevant experience instead of grades, I thought that I had more than enough experience to help me get on the course...”

“I put my heart and soul into the degree and was helped along the way by the amazing and extremely supportive staff at the University. I hope that my story can inspire other younger people from a similar to background to chase their goals and not give up on any ambitions they may have because anything can be achieved if you work hard enough.”

Amy Davies

Amy first entered foster care at the age of 11 and went through several different homes before moving in with her grandmother at the age of 16. She met her husband Gavin at the age of 19 and they began to foster children when they were in their 20’s.

The couple currently care for five children ranging from seven to 22 years old. Amy and Gavin also have an 8-year-old son of their own and are currently in the process of adopting a child.

A really special day

Amy will be attending her graduation ceremony this week (Thursday 20th July) with Gavin, who is a primary school teacher, and her grandmother, who is also a foster carer, and her mother.

“It’s going to be a really special day graduating with all of my family around me,” Amy continued.

Amy is just one of a number of students graduating this week who have benefited from Cardiff University’s continued efforts to provide access to university and ongoing support for people from vulnerable and under-represented groups.

Amy Davies with husband and son
Amy and her husband Gavin with their 8-year-old son

A commitment to recruit and retain the brightest students from all backgrounds sits at the heart of the University’s endeavour to educate students to the highest standards and to support them through the transition to independent learning. In recent years, the University’s offer of non-statutory support has expanded to include assistance for both care leavers and students with caring responsibilities, students estranged from their families, forces veterans seeking to return to study, and asylum seekers.

Professor Amanda Coffey, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Student Experience and Academic Standards, said: “I am absolutely delighted to see Amy graduate from the University this week...”

“She has overcome a whole host of obstacles that have been put in her way. She has completed a postgraduate degree whilst caring for six foster children. She is truly an inspirational person.”

“We are very proud of the work we undertake with care leavers to provide them with opportunities to benefit from a university education. We want to ensure that others like Amy have the chance to unlock their educational potential and go on to successful careers.”