The “remarkable journey” that two good friends have had at Hartlepool College of Further Education is set to continue at Teesside University in September. IT students Liam Cameron and Cory Morris will be heading to the same place, studying different courses, having already attended the same primary and secondary schools as well as college.
If things go to plan Liam and Cory could end up working together too, with one focused on games development and the other on game art, respectively speaking. The situation they find themselves in is fantastic, having both worked extremely hard to prove there is a route to university if you set your mind to it after not achieving the GCSE grades you hoped for. The former Golden Flatts and Manor Academy pupils started out on a Level 1 Diploma in vocational studies at Hartlepool College in 2018. After negotiating that Liam, 19, and Cory, 20, followed up a year on the Level 2 IT course by finishing a two-year Level 3 national extended diploma in the subject recently.
Glasgow-born Liam, who has also been a student ambassador at College, said: “I would love to become a games developer now that I have worked my way on to this foundation level course at university; either for a big game company or maybe to make some small indie games myself. At school I felt like I didn’t take things seriously. When I got my results I realised that if I had a dream I had to work hard to reach it so I thought I’d better put the effort in. I’m paying attention to what I am doing and it’s paying off. I feel like I have been trying the best I can. It’s been a lot of fun doing the work because I have loved messing around with the different units. Now I am looking forward to doing a bit more of what I like at uni. It has been good to have a friend in class I know like Cory, so it will be nice to have him around at uni too. We could end up working together. Who knows?”
Cory’s academic story is almost identical. He did arrive at Hartlepool College with a GCSE in music and food tech but not in maths and English. He has since worked towards getting those subjects too. Cory added: “I have enjoyed it. The ambition and determination to work on long documents is now there for me. I know I can do it. We have already made a game, created documents and a support plan for maintenance for a fictional company during this IT course and that is a good experience for what I will be going into – game art. We have created designs for advertisements already and I know I want to do 3D models for games. When I did a 3D model for a cereal box during this course it made me want to do it even more. It is a game art degree with a foundation year I will be doing. I would love to go to a big company after that and create 3D modelling for those who do code. It’s exciting.”
David Goodwin, one of the students’ tutors, has been hugely impressed with their approach, since stepping up from vocational studies where Christine Deane was the tutor. David said: “Cory has shown tremendous development over his time with the college. He has worked extremely hard over the last two years and managed to overcome adverse conditions during lockdown and subsequent effects of disruption. Cory has shown maturity and determination to achieve the best outcomes possible under these difficult circumstances and paved the way for a successful career; a remarkable journey. Liam has faced many barriers over the last few years, and has worked extremely hard to overcome them. His work has shown continuous improvement, and he has never stopped aiming for higher grades. This determination and commitment – despite extreme adversity – has enabled Liam to successfully complete at Level 3, and opened the door for higher education, which offers him opportunities that would not have existed without his positivity and belief.”