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I joined Leeds Trinity University in September 2018, as a student on the Supporting Learning and Additional Needs programme. I had been working at a high school for a number of years and decided that it was time for me to get my degree and become a teacher. 

Leeds Trinity was local to me, and by being so close I was able to agree flexible working with my employer at the time so that I could attend my lectures and tutorials. It was my first choice, and I liked the feel of the University when I came to look round. Some of my family and friends were also former students and had enjoyed their experience.

I too enjoyed my time at Leeds Trinity, and some of my most memorable moments were with the critical group of friends that I formed. We met on our first day and we have remained friends until now. I think they will be friends for life! The support that we gave each other really helped me to the end of my course, especially halfway through final year, when my career plans changed. 

I had always planned to finish my degree and go into teaching, but now I am a full-time baker and run my own business. This was very unexpected, and it was challenging to open in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, but I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed with support. Baking started as a hobby that I did alongside work and University, but during lockdown, it started to get bigger and bigger, until I didn’t have enough room to keep up. It was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down, and Aylish Bakes was born.

My shop, Aylish Bakes, is close by to the University and at the moment I offer handmade cakes for multiple special occasions, takeaway cupcakes and treat boxes. I plan to build my business and would love to open more shops, and maybe even open my own baking academy where I can apply my earlier aspirations as a teacher with my passion as a baker.

Studying at Leeds Trinity has definitely given me more confidence and I have realised that I am a very conscientious person. It reinforced my love for studying and learning, as well as providing me with fresh perspective to try new strategies and ideas. I also learnt that when I put my mind to something, I can achieve anything!

While I am now taking a different career path, one that I never expected to, I will always have a huge interest in education. I worked in a school setting for almost six years and I feel like helping and supporting students is a passion of mine. I also think I have a huge appetite for learning, so I will definitely aspire to continue to grow academically.

Aylish Griffiths graduated from Leeds Trinity University with a foundation degree in Supporting Learning and Additional Needs in May 2021. Find out more about foundation degree programmes on the Leeds Trinity website.

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