Commitment and passion leads Sam to success


Sam Gardener’s commitment and passion for learning will be recognised today when he graduates at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Graduation Ceremonies held in Swansea’s Brangwyn Hall.

Sam Gardner

Sam, who graduates with a Professional Certificate in Education, is was also the recipient of the The Inspire! Awards which are hosted each year during Adult Learners’ Week to celebrate the achievements of outstanding learners in Wales who have shown exceptional passion, commitment and drive for learning; often in the face of difficult circumstances.

Coming from a care background with limited contact with his family, the isolation Sam felt during his studies was very challenging.  As time went on it was clear that Sam, who had always dreamed of becoming a teacher, was struggling with anxiety and depression and by the middle of what should have been his final year of studies he was no longer coping, the lack of a support structure outside university meant that he felt he was unable to continue.  Sam made the decision that he would take a break from his studies and return in the following academic year for a fresh start, to give him the best chance to improve his grades and attain his degree.  He returned to his studies for his final year stronger, more confident and determined to succeed. He successfully completed his degree and graduated in the summer of 2015 from the BA in Education Studies. He went on to secure a job as a teaching assistant and then applied to complete his PGCE qualification. Sam has showed determination and resilience despite his adverse life experiences and is now about to achieve his dream of becoming a fully qualified teacher.

Sam said: “I am really happy to have graduated today and grateful for all the support I’ve had from staff at UWTSD. Education doesn’t end at 18, it’s life-long and it will set you free. The key to overcoming adversity is through self expression and hard work. Try, fail, reflect, repeat.”

"I believe that education is a tool that empowers, opens our minds and enables us to become socially mobile. I have never let my past define me but believe that they have only made me stronger and more determined to succeed. I will continue to speak and write on behalf of looked after children who lack a voice or who are underrepresented. You can achieve no matter what your circumstance. Grasp education with both hands. It opens doors, builds your character and mind.”

UWTSD's Caroline Lewis, Programme Director, BA (Hons) Education Studies said: "Staff at UWTSD who know Sam and his background regard him as an inspiration to other individuals, a young man who has succeeded despite the odds”.