UWTSD Advocacy graduate and care leaver’s wish to inspire children and young people


As a care leaver, Abi – Marie Jones believed that attending university was an impossible goal for many years. But this week she graduates with a BA in Advocacy and has pledged to use her new qualification and experience to inspire others from similar backgrounds.

Advocacy Bursary Winner

Abi-Marie said she attended the university’s open day looking for an environment that celebrated success and fell in love with the course after hearing more about what the programme offers.

She said: “I was really fascinated by the way in which Advocacy was presented at the open day, it sounded like such an amazing course, why wouldn’t you want to join a course that teaches you the importance and value of supporting others to get their best opportunities and their voices heard!

“For me it ticked all the boxes of things I am interested in, I already had an interest in the way social policy affects individuals and so it seemed logical to choose the course that engaged most in that sector. I had some minor knowledge of Advocacy prior to the course starting but the open day confirmed I was right to take the plunge.”

Having been out of academia for a few years, Abi- Marie said she was nervous to return to education in her 20s, however she immediately felt comfortable as the University was extremely helpful and welcoming.

She added: “I have been incredibly privileged to be supported by the fantastic team that teach Advocacy and without their support, vast knowledge and understanding, my success would not have happened.”

Abi-Marie said she loved all aspects of the course as each day of lectures brought new challenges and interesting conversations. The Advocacy course tackled both ongoing current issues whilst also highlighting the importance of learning from past errors in process or procedure.

She said: “Our class was fairly small in numbers and as such we were able to gain specific support when needed and also felt the lectures know who we are, not simply a name on a sheet. Whilst I did not initially believe I would take naturally to academia; I soon fell in love with the swathe of information to learn. My favourite thing about the course was hearing the lecturers speak with passion, they absolutely love what they do and strive to make it relatable.”

Abi-Marie said UWTSD has developed her keen passion for learning and improving outcomes for people where possible.

“I entered university unsure of my future direction and if I was able to complete a degree, and whilst there was always going to be doubt, my lecturers continually reminded me that with focus I could achieve my goals,” she added.

“I am now proud to say I have strong socially inclusive values and have become a very passionate person. UWTSD and my lecturers helped me find my voice and learn to utilise it.”

The level of support that the lecturers provided was invaluable according to Abi-Marie.

“The door was open for extra support with both the academia side of things and for any other advice needed, which I think is such a vital environment for the university to promote.

“The university further supported myself through my own personal mental health challenges with access to support made simple.  The lecturers have provided valuable insight allowing myself to make big decisions within my professional life from an informed perspective.”

Abi-Marie has been successful in winning the Advocacy, Sociology, Equity and Diversity Prize at this year’s graduation.

She said:I feel absolutely honoured to have won the award, and to have even been nominated, it completely blew me away. I am immensely proud to receive it at graduation and so thankful for this journey.”

Lecturer Phillip Morgan said,

“Abi-Marie demonstrates high standards of practice in her Advocacy work and fully recognises the importance of hearing the opinions of young people , she fully understands the importance of genuine inclusion of young people in any decision making process that affects them.”

After graduating, Abi-Marie wishes to continue her journey within academia by returning to the University to study a master’s course in Equity and Diversity.

Further Information

Lowri Thomas, Principal Communications and PR Officer

07449 998476