Mother and daughter have become an inspiration to others after telling of how they left behind their jobs as a cleaner and barmaid to become a doctor and a scientist. Allison and Gabrielle Corbett are now both successful career women despite coming out of their schools without the greatest of grades. But after seeing her mum head back into the classroom at Hartlepool College of Further Education following a succession of low paid jobs, Gabrielle also returned to her studies and is now a qualified science teacher.
The 33-year-old said: “My inspiration to come into education was my mum. Watching her as a mature student gave me that push and showed me that if you put your mind to it you can do it. I started at Hartlepool College doing an access to science course. I didn’t fully know what I wanted to do. I had nursing and midwifery or something along those lines in my head. When I started the course the tutors were absolutely amazing and they went above and beyond and suggested other courses that might interest me based on what they were reading in the coursework I was handing in. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have gone on to the degree I did.”
Mum Allison is now a successful GP after giving up any thoughts of a career when she became a teenage mum. Now 51, she explained: “I had my family very young and always worked around them, working mostly part time. I worked as a cleaner, a bar maid and in the crisp factory amongst other things.I always worked but never to my full potential. It was always just to pay the bills and get by. I had aspirations about what I wanted to do but didn’t know how to do it. My journey started by going down to Hartlepool College of Further Education. And they just sort of spring-boarded me on. I did an access to health course and found the tutors so supportive, they would go out of their way for you and even helped me write my UCAS statement.”
Alison went on to Newcastle University where she studied community and hospital medicine before finally graduating as a doctor. “My advice to other adults about higher education would be to give it a go. The feeling of accomplishment and the doors you can open are amazing. Just go and do it.”