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BMet’s Higher Education law pathway gives Avaia a second chance to succeed!

Avaia’s legal career journey began with BMet in 2017, when he made a decision to pursue his growing passion for law.

Following a series of prior challenges and setbacks in his personal life, Avaia decided that he wanted to start a fresh as an adult, embarking on a profession that excited him.

His dream began to be realised when he was accepted on the Access to Higher Education Level 3 Diploma in Law and Criminology at Matthew Boulton College.

Avaia was determined not to let his previous experiences, which included him being from a working-class family background, shape his future and life-chances. So, he seized the opportunities that BMet gave him.

We asked Avaia a few questions to find out more about his journey before and at BMet:

Tell us a bit about “your journey” before coming to BMet? and why did you choose the course?

“I left school shortly after starting sixth form in 2012. I dropped out at the beginning of 2013 for a myriad of reasons, not least some serious family issues and mental health struggles.

Later in 2013, I enrolled at Matthew Boulton for A Levels. However, at this point, I still wasn’t ready for education and so again, I dropped out.

During this time, I co-founded an organisation providing education and training on child protection matters like grooming, radicalisation, online safety and counter terrorism. It soon became apparent to me that I was most interested in the law around the topics that I was training others on. I had always had a passion for law, namely human rights and this work confirmed it was where I belonged professionally.

At this stage, I was 21 and so began looking into options to be able to get me to university and found that accessing A Levels when you’re over 19 can be quite difficult and expensive. Luckily, I soon came across the Access course option. It was a win win! – as due to not having a Level 3 qualification already, I could get funding for this course.

The Law and Criminology Access course at BMet seemed perfect for what I wanted to go on to do. It would give me the foundational knowledge to be on the right footing at university, but also, the course would provide practical skills such as research and essay writing – skills you lose very quickly after leaving education.

I applied, had my interview, got my offer and I was all set!”

How have you found your time at BMet and did it cater to your needs?

“BMet and the Access course, not only met my needs at the time, but in hindsight, I can genuinely say that the course put me on a better footing than others who had done A-levels. When I got to university, unlike others, I already had a grounding in legal essays, referencing, structured research, critical analysis and experiencing university level deadlines. I was able to excel quickly and to carry and build on skills, throughout my degree.

I won’t lie, the Access course is not an easy one – it really does test you and condenses a lot of material. However, this is the experience at university and, I can honestly say the Access course prepared me so well for higher education.”

What do you think of the support you’ve received at BMet?

“The support I received at BMet was exceptional. My tutor was amazing. He was so receptive to providing feedback and genuinely wanted to see us succeed. He was always looking for ways to make the content more relatable and interesting (not that law isn’t always a blast!).

The thing about adult education courses is that everybody is at a different point in their lives. Each person is so different that it is not possible to teach everybody in the same way. I think BMet catered to this well – the tutors were able to break down the material and put it into ways that everybody could understand. If there were some who still struggled, they would be given additional support to get them through.”

What have you particularly enjoyed during your time at BMet and what are your best experiences?

“I genuinely enjoyed the learning. I am a bit of a nerd, especially when it comes to law and so I really loved learning new things and getting to explore new topics. I was particularly interested in my human rights module.

What I really liked about the Access course was the freedom to make it my own.  Many of the essays allowed you to have your own take and express your own views.

In addition, I made some great friends on the Access course!”

What are you doing now and what are your hopes for the future?

“After I left BMet in 2018, I went straight to Lancaster University where I studied a law degree, specialising in human rights. I graduated in 2021, with a first-class law degree.

I am now studying at post-graduate level, with the aim of practicing as a Barrister. I am set to be called to the Bar later on this year and I am hoping to gain pupillage within a Barristers Chambers. This experience will allow me to be a fully qualified Barrister. I am hoping to practice in family law, particularly public children law, where I would work on some of the most serious child protection cases that make their way before the courts.”

What would you say has been your favourite achievements/memories to date?

“Since studying at BMet, I have had amazing opportunities to get involved in so many things and achieve so much. I have worked as a specialist children volunteer with Victim Support, worked as a Human Rights Monitor in a Category C prison with authority under international law, was given the chance to spend a week in an MPs office and was employed with Citizens Advice as a consumer specialist. Currently, I volunteer with Greater Manchester Law Centre as their employment rights campaign lead and I also work as a crisis volunteer with the charity Shout.

All of these things make me so proud. I think the thing I am most proud of is that I graduated university with a First-class degree. I defied what so many people thought of me, what society often sets people like me up for and I was able to break that mould. Taking this further, in just a few short months, I will be able to call myself a Barrister!

I know some of my achievements seem fanciful and out of reach, but they really aren’t. I am not special in any way, I had to fight for every step up and worked to be able to get these experiences and achieve these accolades. I think it’s important to realise that anybody can do that and, frankly, the Access course was the start of it all for me!”

What advice would you give to other students wanting to attend BMet? Or who are currently here?

“Honestly, the one piece of advice that anybody considering studying a course at BMet, is to take it seriously and genuinely try. I saw so many other students falling before the finish line, because they hadn’t done so. The Access to HE course isn’t a walk in the park and you do need to put the work in, but if you do that, you will get so much from it. It really will be the start of something amazing if you make it so.

In short, you get from this course what you are willing to put in. This course will be what gets you on the path to a degree, make the year worth it!”

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