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Hayley up and away with legal career ambitions

Hayley Copage has made up for her 18 years away from education by going to college, doing work experience at a law firm and progressing to university. The 34-year-old completed an Access to Law and Criminology course at Sutton Coldfield College and is now at Coventry University studying a LLB qualifying law degree.

“I left school not knowing what I wanted to do, so this is my chance to pursue a career in something I’ve become passionate about,” said Hayley. “I’m fascinated by justice and the way that rules and regulations come into every aspect of a person’s life. I eventually want to specialise in employment law because it’s a way of making amends for the discrimination a person may have faced.”

Having left school with a handful of qualifications, Hayley came to BMet in 2015 to study GCSE English and Maths. Passing these courses led to her starting the Access course which was designed to introduce her to law and legal studies as well as prepare her for further study and employment.

Hayley continued: “The course covered the whole spectrum of the legal sector including tort, which is a civil wrongdoing, plus negligence and offences such as assault and manslaughter. And we looked at statutory interpretation, the process of courts interpreting and applying legislation.

“The coursework was mainly essays, although there was project work too. One of these involved me looking at the correlation between drug use and adolescent crime. I interviewed people and analysed statistics so that I had enough evidence to back up my arguments.”

Hayley’s course also gave her opportunities to explore law and legal systems up close. An outing to Birmingham Crown Courts included a Q & A session with a High Court judge. This was followed by a visit to Birmingham law firm, Freeths LLP where Hayley secured work experience.

“Work experience was something the college emphasised to everyone,” Hayley went on to say. “I’m glad they did as this helped me see the sector from the outside in. I was given cases and scenarios relating to intellectual property law, contract law and employment law and asked to write reports. Looking at these cases inspired me to want to become an employment law solicitor. After my LLB, I’ll spend 18 months doing a legal practical course (LPC) and can then look for work.

“It is of course a challenge to be a student, juggle a full-time job and be a mum, but I’m glad I’ve done it. It proves I can manage anything.”

Hayley has also been pleased to find that becoming a student again has also been a good influence on her 16-year-old daughter.

“I’d usually have to push her to get on with her homework but one day, I’d gone up to her bedroom and found her working away without me having said anything,” Hayley added. “She’d never seen me poring over books and papers before, so this must have inspired her to study more. Her grades have gone up and so that’s something else to be proud of.”

The Access to Higher Education courses are available at BMet in a range of subjects including business, health and engineering.


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