A father and son are celebrating joint academic success after gaining a degree and A-Levels at Sunderland College.
Paul Stafford, an employment liaison manager at Sunderland College, recently gained a first class degree in Leadership Management and last week (Thursday, August 14) watched his youngest son, Christopher, open his A-Level results to gain 2 As and an A* in Maths, Biology and Chemistry.
The pair, from Fulwell in Sunderland, followed in the footsteps of Paul’s eldest son, Mark, 22, who also studied at Sunderland College before graduating with a degree in Pharmacy from Sunderland University.
Paul, 53, first gained a foundation degree after studying full-time at Sunderland College for two years and then topped-up with a year of studies to gain a BA degree.
He was first given a taste of higher education after being made redundant from his 13 year role in the retail industry. He joined Sunderland College in 2005 and gained an NVQ level 3 in Team Leading and progressed his career in the employment field.
Paul said: “I was devastated after being made redundant and thought the path to a career was closed as a result. Sunderland College really opened my eyes to a world of training and I’ve been fortunate enough to see things from a higher education perspective as a student as well as a lecturer.
“Not only have I been able to offer support to my sons during their several years of study as a result of my own experience but I’ve been able to complement the educational team offering at Sunderland College, which I’m thrilled about.
“I’m so proud of both my sons and it was a really special treat to see Chris open his results at Sunderland College on Thursday.”
Christopher, 18, who is set to study Dentistry at Leeds University from September, said: “I’m delighted to have gained such great results – I really wasn’t expecting it but I’ve worked really hard these past two years. It was definitely useful to have a dad around who could relate to academic language having been through a similar experience.
“I’m really proud of my dad – many people his age feel it’s too late to study for a degree but he has proved age isn’t a barrier. I’ve definitely got a lot to live up to in the family now.”