Duarte and Sanchez (2015) suggest that the start of successful change comes from our ability to dream; to dream of future goals and aspirations.

At Leeds Trinity University, I have heard many work-based students share their own stories of realising their dreams, such as studying for a degree programme. This was sometimes after having very real worries about maintaining their working roles, supporting a family, or having a niggling doubt that they were too old and had missed the opportunity when they were younger.

However, year after year I have the pleasure of seeing people act on their dreams and take the leap by visiting an open day, sending an enquiry via the website, or submitting an application form, using their experience of work as an entry requirement for degree level study. Duarte and Sanchez (2015) suggest that leaping is the second step to successful change. Leaping can be scary, but in my experience, taking a leap into a work-based degree programme leads to many successful changes that ripple throughout all aspects of life. 

Work-based degree programmes such as Leeds Trinity’s foundation degrees in Supporting Children, Young People and Families and Supporting Families and Communities are designed for professionals who have practical industry experience and to want to keep working whilst studying for a degree level qualification. The patterns of study are considerate of working professionals, with families and wider responsibilities, and the modules are grounded in real-life contemporary practice. Work-based degree programmes are created to compliment and enhance daily working practice, but also to support learners, as they overcome challenges and work towards their goals.

Studying and writing assignments can be daunting, but it is also where the transformation happens. One reading at a time; one discussion at a time; one paragraph at a time; I see students make connections, build arguments and critically analyse practice in new, insightful ways. Support is available across the University with assignments, study skills, and time management, but only you can bring your dreams, experiences, and passions for your profession, that make every assignment unique.

Will it be hard? Yes, it will. Is it achievable? Yes – take a look at some of our alumni profiles to find out how they achieved their goals, boosted their employability and set out on new ventures to realise their dreams.

It can be difficult to move from the comfort of your current professional role and qualifications, to cross a threshold into questioning your practice and the more diverse ways of working that come with degree-level study. Yet, if this is a journey that resonates with you, follow it and dream about it –  a work-based degree is within your reach.

Dr Clarrie Smith is Senior Lecturer in Children, Young People and Families at Leeds Trinity University. Find out more about foundation degree and professional practice programmes on the Leeds Trinity website.


Duarte, N. and Sanchez, P. (2015) Illuminate: Ignite Change Through Speeches, Stories, Ceremonies, and Symbols. Portfolio.


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