Latest News | 29 April 2024

University student’s success story chosen for national campaign

University of Derby
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The extraordinary success of a student from the University of Derby who was the first in her family to attend university is being highlighted in a new national campaign.

Jeanette Ashmole, who studied Law and Criminology at the University of Derby, graduating in 2011, was the first in her family to attend university – and has since gone on to become a practising criminal barrister and TV crime adviser.

She has now been chosen by Universities UK for its 100 Faces campaign, which aims to champion and celebrate the positive impact of ‘first-in-the-family’ graduates in the UK.

Others included in the campaign are England footballer Beth Mead, Lord David Blunkett, Nobel Prize winner Sir Chris Pissarides and actor Amit Shah.

It aims to highlight the need for access to support and ensure the next generation can reach their graduate potential.

Orphaned at the age of nine and fostered by her aunt and uncle, Jeanette left home and school at 16 without studying A-levels.

After working a variety of jobs, including in a nursing home, in a lab making glasses and at a supermarket, Jeanette wasn’t sure what path to take and so volunteered as a Special Constable for the police when she was 19.

After a number of years full-time in the police, her role sparked an interest in criminal law.

At the age of 23 she left the police after her first child was born and wondered how to take her newfound passion for law further.

Without funding or support, she entered a competition run by the Derby Telegraph and the University of Derby for a scholarship to study at the University.

Jeanette was offered the scholarship and began a degree in Law and Criminology when her daughter was nine months old, and she was expecting her second child.

After graduating she decided to apply for Bar School to qualify as a criminal barrister.

To fund her studies, she was awarded a further scholarship, worked part-time and appeared on a TV game show.

Since qualifying at chambers in London, she has started her own TV Crime Consulting business to complement her practice.

She has been a legal consultant on many high-profile series, including Happy Valley and Jimmy McGovern’s Time, and is the resident legal adviser at Coronation Street.

Jeanette said: “The chance to study at the University of Derby completely changed my life.

“It gave me the confidence and skills that I needed to realise my full potential.

“Before I started studying at Derby, I had no path in my life and was stuck in a rut, since then I have accomplished so many things. I can now give my family the future that they deserve, and that means a lot to me.”

Vivienne Stern MBE, chief executive of Universities UK, said: “There are those who say that too many people go to university. I disagree. These stories tell you why.

“In this country you are still twice as likely to go to university if you are from the wealthiest background, compared to the least wealthy. That’s not right.”

To find out more about the 100 Faces campaign visit here

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