Trina's Outstanding Commitment to Study

Trina Smith, a first year Mental Health Nursing student from Swansea University’s College of Human and Health Sciences has won the ‘Outstanding Commitment to Study’ category in The Keith Fletcher Memorial National Access Prize for 2013.

Trina, who has already achieved the title of Agored Cymru’s Access to Higher Education Learner of the Year 2013, studied the access to higher education qualification in nursing and health related professions at Coleg Sir Gar before securing her place at Swansea University.

The Outstanding Commitment to Study award recognises Trina’s outstanding commitment to her Access studies, in the face of difficult and challenging personal circumstances. She will now travel to the House of Commons to accept her award, which includes a certificate and a cheque for £800 to help with future study.

Trina entered the world of education in 2011 after a difficult period in her life.  After struggling with mental illness for many years, Trina met a new psychotherapist who saw past her symptoms and referred her for intensive treatment.  With support from her friends and family, she began her Access Course and hasn’t looked back since.

Trina said: “I hope if nothing else, with the awards I have won recently I can be both a role model and an inspiration to anyone who has been to the depth of darkness through a mental health illness.  You should never give up or lose hope because the last 18 months of my life have taught me that even when life seems to be one car crash after another, if you just hold on, even if by the skin of your teeth, that life can turn around and become the most amazing adventure worth living, ever.”

The Keith Fletcher Memorial National Access Prize was developed after the death of Keith Fletcher, former Director of OCN (Open College Network) South West Region in November 2010.  Keith’s family and colleagues wanted to recognise his commitment to Access and so they worked together to develop a learner prize for students in two categories, ‘Outstanding Academic Achievement’ and ‘Outstanding Commitment to Study’.

Following the success of the first round of awards in 2011 and 2012, all Access Validating Agencies were invited to nominate Access students for the two prize categories in 2013, the nominations were then scrutinised by a panel of AVA nominated judges.