First distance graduates make trip to St Andrews to collect diplomas
A Sunday School leader and a consultant psychiatrist were the first students to graduate in person with a Distance Learning Postgraduate Diploma from the University of St Andrews last week.
Elizabeth Carson, a support worker in Airdrie, Scotland, and Dr Elliot Williams, a consultant psychiatrist in mental health services in Cardiff, had their PGdip Adults with Learning Disabilities who have Significant and Complex Needs, conferred at the graduation ceremony last week.
The distance qualification is for professional staff working with people who have learning disabilities.
Students on the course come from a range of professional backgrounds and locations – currently there are students from all four UK nations, Ireland, Hong Kong and Australia.
Dr Martin Campbell, of the School of Psychology, said: “The flexibility of the distance learning format allows staff in demanding jobs to continue their professional development without lengthy absences from work.
“They are able to study at times that suit shift patterns and domestic arrangements, and employers have also been supportive of the programme.”
Dr Williams is employed by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in Wales. He originally qualified in medicine at the University of Lagos, Nigeria.
His hopes to use his experience and the qualification to help improve care for people with learning disabilities.
The graduation marks an eventful week for Miss Carson who was due to marry two days after receiving her diploma.
She originally graduated with a first class BSc in Psychology from Glasgow Caledonian University in 2008.
She has worked for Richard Fellowship Scotland, a voluntary sector organisation, for three years providing direct support to adults with learning disabilities and autism, allowing people to be independent and active in their community.
The Sunday school leader at the Airdrie Baptist Church is now considering going on to study for an MSc.
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