A CWMBRAN mother and son are celebrating their graduation.

Alison Strong and her eldest son Joseph have graduated from the University of South Wales.

Joseph completed his A-levels at Croesyceiliog Comprehensive School and applied to study BA (Hons) Journalism, and Ms Strong was accepted onto a midwifery course after deciding to leave her 20-year teaching career behind.

She said: “It wasn’t intentional that we would study at USW at the same time. I had actually applied to study midwifery a few times unsuccessfully. But after gaining more experience, volunteering at the Royal Gwent Hospital and as a community nursery nurse at Flying Start, I was accepted on to the course the same year that Joseph started uni.”


The course wasn’t without challenges, especially when the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

“The course has had its challenges, because of Covid, but it has been really good," said Ms Strong. "Because we could still work on placements, albeit wearing full PPE, it offered a bit of normality throughout lockdown.

“I actually enjoyed learning from home. As a mum of three, it meant that I could still do the school runs, walk the dogs etc, as I was saving on travel time.”

Mr Strong was in his second year when the pandemic hit, it didn’t bother him too much in terms of the lectures but was a hit to his social life.

He said: “Our lecturers became virtual and that didn’t bother me. A highlight was our ‘news days’ when we had to create news packages for TV or radio.

“It was losing my social life and the isolation that was most difficult for me, like many others.”

He is now living in Cardiff and working at Vue Cinema while figuring out his next move. Ms Strong has a job lined up for September.

“On the same day that I delivered my 40th baby [a milestone for all student midwives], I was so pleased to be offered a job at The Grange Hospital in Cwmbran,” she said.

“I expect we’ll do something as a family to celebrate. I am considering hiring a cap and gown for photos, and holding a party in the garden, to mark the occasion.

“If anyone is considering a change in career, I would advise to go for it. Being a mature student has definitely helped with studies and placements.”