UWTSD graduate wins her dream domestic abuse service job


She returned to education as a mature student and a mother of four – and now Wendy Hughes, 41, from Carmarthen, has gained not only a degree in Youth Work and Social Education but also her dream job as a domestic abuse practitioner, where she undertook one of her university work placements. This has special significance for her as she has used a domestic abuse support service herself in the past.

Wendy Hughes

Wendy, who studied at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), is also delighted to be graduating at the same time as her daughter Teigan Wray, who has completed a degree in Primary Education with QTS at UWTSD.

“It feels absolutely amazing to be graduating together,” says Wendy. “We supported each other through our degrees – Teigan proofread my work and I proofread her work.”

Wendy chose to study Youth Work because she has always had a passion for working with young people, but from the outset she knew she wanted a career with a domestic abuse support service.

“I've been through it myself in the past, so it's just something I wanted to do,” she says. “One of my degree work placements was at the domestic service where I now work, and I learned so much from them - they're fantastic and I think any student who ever goes there will get so much out of it.”

Determined to get a job in domestic abuse support, she took to searching a job website for suitable positions.

“I’d been on there continuously, day in day out, looking for something,” she recalls. “One night at around midnight I couldn't sleep, so I decided to look for jobs – and there was a vacancy in the place where I did my placement.”

She applied for the job, got invited for interview and then received a call from the centre when she was at an opticians’ appointment with one of her children. She was thrilled to learn she had got the job.

“My eyes were filling up; my little girl asked me what was the matter and I said, ‘I've got the job.’ I couldn’t scream because I was in an opticians! It is my dream job. I'm so happy and I just feel so privileged to have been able to do the course that led to me getting this job.”

She adds that she is delighted with the support and tuition she received throughout the course.

“The tuition was outstanding,” she says. “My tutors Angharad Lewis, Alana Enoch and Darrel Williams are honestly the best lecturers ever. They're there 24/7 on email, they guide you, they're honestly absolutely amazing.

“The course itself was an eye opener. You learn so many valuable things, gaining an understanding of topics such as Adverse Childhood Experiences and toxic childhood. It's a brilliant course.”

She adds that the support she received throughout the course was vital to helping her overcome various challenges during her studies.

 “On my very first day after I'd finished my first classes, I had a phone call to say my mum had had a heart attack – so on the first day I was already missing bits of university, and I really thought it was not meant to be,” she says. “I remember crying when looked at my first piece of work. I’d left school at 15 with no GCSEs. I didn't do any exams. I looked at the work and thought, ‘I just can't do this degree.’ I had four children to look after, uni work to do, and especially over Christmas when you're used to spending so much time with the children and you've got deadlines looming, it’s a challenge.

 “What got me through was the fact that it was a very supportive course. The group of us were all supportive of each other, and the lecturers were wonderful and helped to build my confidence about things like writing essays. When I did my first essay on domestic abuse, I felt really proud, and I went on to do my dissertation on it as well.

 Now Wendy is delighted to have earned both her degree and the job she longed for. Graduating alongside Teigan makes the success even sweeter.

 “I'm so proud of her and I think she feels the same for me,” says Wendy.

Wendy Hughes & Daughter

Angharad Lewis, Programme Director for the BA Youth Work and Social Education course said: 

“We are so proud of Wendy and all that she has achieved at University.  She has shown determination, dedication and passion towards her studies and her youth work practice.  In addition, Wendy has shown real resilience from the outset having faced a number of challenges during her three years on the programme.  

We are very proud of Wendy’s achievements, and it was great to hear that she had secured her dream job – which she’d secured a few months before graduating.

We wish Wendy well for her future as a professionally qualified youth worker.  The young people she will come into contact with will be very lucky to be supported by her.”

Further Information

Lowri Thomas, Principal Communications and PR Officer 

07449 998476 / lowri.thomas@uwtsd.ac.uk