Degree changes life of Northants former factory worker who considered suicide after car accident

Trevor Baldwin has graduated in criminology aged 56 - four years after a car accident meant he had to leave his career as a joiner.

Trevor Baldwin has graduated in criminology aged 56 - four years after a car accident meant he had to leave his career as a joiner.

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A former Northamptonshire factory worker who went back to education when he was hit by a car has not only got a degree aged 56 - but he has landed a career change too.

Trevor Baldwin, who lives in Barton Seagrave with his partner Danielle and seven-year- old daughter, Jorja, was working for a joinery factory in Thrapston when he was hit by a car and left with a life-changing back injury.

As he could not return to heavy lifting he had to leave his job, which led to him slumping to the lowest point in his life.

One morning, while out for a walk with his daughter, he considered jumping off a road flyover.

But after a life-changing chat with his son-in- law Simon, Mr Baldwin was convinced to take a degree.

As the former factory worker read a lot of crime thrillers, he applied for a criminology course at the University of Northampton.

And this week he graduated in the subject, becoming the first person in his family to don a mortarboard.

He said: “It has changed my life completely.

Now, at 56, I’m a University graduate. I’m the first in my family. ‘Graduate’ is a nice label, and one I’m proud to have. I’m embarking on a new adventure at the age of 56.”

Trevor has already landed a job as a secure training officer at Oakhill Secure Training Centre, working with youngsters aged between 12 and 17 who have been remanded or sentenced to detention.

“I may not have had academic skills, but I did have communication skills – which improved throughout university,” he said.

“I learned how to write, and how to listen. I learned how to communicate with people of all ages, from different backgrounds. I learned about teamwork.”

But Mr Baldwin may well have taken a very different path, who has described the day he considered ending it all.

“I was in a lot of pain, and in a bad place mentally,” he said.

“I was applying for jobs, claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance, and not knowing what to do with my days. One morning I went out for a walk with my young daughter in her pushchair and I found myself on a flyover. I thought about doing the unspeakable.”

Over 60 per cent of students at the University of Northampton are aged over 21 at the start of their studies, and considered to be mature.

To find out more about courses at the University of Northampton, visit its website: http://www.northampton.ac.uk/