An Army veteran has graduated from Leeds Trinity with a degree in Counselling Psychology after deciding on a career change that means he can help others.

Mature male student in glasses and graduation cap poses for photo.

Simon Taylor joined the Army from the age of 16 where he toured around the world as a telecommunication technician for just over a decade. He continued in this field when he left the forces, after deciding against applying for university at this stage because the timing wasn’t right.

Simon and his wife then moved to South East Asia where they lived and worked for several years before returning to the UK in 2017, when he made the decision to apply for Leeds Trinity University having felt unfulfilled in his telecommunication role.

The 52-year-old knew he wanted to help others because of his experience in the Army, and the Counselling Psychology course at Leeds Trinity University appealed to him alongside the University’s ethos of “a name not a number”.

Throughout his studies, Simon volunteered with the Hepatitis C Trust to expand his experience in the care sector. He has continued this work since leaving university and is using his experience working with vulnerable and marginalised members of society to apply for jobs. He is also considering furthering his study with an MSc in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Simon said: “Part of my motive for entering the field of Psychology came from witnessing the struggles of other former forces personnel and the marginalised within society.

“I was extremely nervous regarding my abilities prior to beginning my studies at Leeds Trinity University but that has completely changed. Today, I feel that if I apply myself I am capable and can achieve my goals – within reason of course!”

He added: “The interactions and discussions with both students and lecturers has been the most enjoyable aspect of my time at Leeds Trinity.

“I have grown into a different person to the one who began his studies and hopefully I will continue to grow in the future.”

Dr Alison Torn, Senior Teaching Fellow in Psychology, said: “As a mature student, Simon quickly became like a father figure in his Psychology cohort – nurturing younger, less confident students to realise their potential.

“He brought a lot of worldly-wise experience to the lectures and was always willing to share this with others, enriching the learning experience for his peers and tutors.

“During his degree, Simon experienced significant personal circumstances which led to him deferring part-way through his second year. For many students, circumstances were such that they would not have returned. However, it is testament to Simon’s focus and determination that he returned to repeat his second year, becoming a role model for the new cohort he was part of.

“It is to his credit that he graduated with a strong degree and one of the highest marks awarded was for his final-year project.”

Find out more about the BSc in Counselling Psychology on the Leeds Trinity website.

Categories: Graduation, Psychology

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