Skip navigation

Change of career


Sometimes it can be difficult to decide what career path to follow and whether to continue a job you thought you loved or pursue something totally different

For 22-year-old Leah Steabler, that’s exactly what happened. She had been working as a self-employed beauty therapist for several years after completing her NVQ Level 2 and 3, but then decided to retrain to become a Social Worker. She applied to Northumbria University for a degree in social work through clearing and has now completed her second year of the programme.


Leah's Story

Leah said: “I originally trained as a beauty therapist and was working full-time for myself. I really enjoyed my job, and I loved working with people, but gradually I decided I wanted to do something different.

“I went to Bede College in Sunderland to do a one-year access course so I could apply to go to university. I initially wanted to be a paramedic and applied to do Paramedic Practice at another North East university, as I wanted to stay in the region and live at home.

“My interview didn’t go well and I began to think it wasn’t the right course for me, so when I was rejected I was actually relieved. It made me think about other courses I could do, and someone suggested I look into social work. I really wanted to do a job where I was supporting others, so it seemed the perfect career choice.

“I started researching North East universities to see which ones offered social work and I really liked the sound of Northumbria’s degree course. Since I was still working full-time I waited until I got my results before contacting them to see if there were any places available through clearing.

“Everything happened really quickly and the person I spoke to was incredibly helpful. I had to send a covering letter with a copy of my grades to Northumbria, then I was invited for an interview a week later and was offered a place on the course. Two weeks later I actually started university and it’s the best thing I have ever done.

“I absolutely love my course. It has been very hard and incredibly challenging at times, but the support from all the staff and lecturers at Northumbria has been brilliant. I’ve had some fantastic support and guidance over my first two years and I’m now looking forward to my final year.

“The highlight of my course so far has to be the practical element, as it’s great to be able to put everything I’ve learnt into practice. I have just completed a 70-day placement, which I loved. It was really interesting and challenging and I can’t wait for my 100-day placement next year – I’m hoping to work with children for that one.

“We have also had a lot of great opportunities to find out what it is really like to be a social worker through guest speakers and past students who have talked about their different jobs. I’m really looking forward to graduating and becoming a qualified social worker.”

Northumbria University has a limited number of places available for high quality students through Clearing this summer. For more information, visit or call the Clearing Hotline on 0800 085 1085.

Return to Clearing & Confirmation home page


Clearing Course Search

Search online to view our courses in clearing. If you don’t quite have our standard entry requirements but are close to them then do give us a call as it may still be possible to consider you.

Clearing Guide Mobile App

We know you probably have lots of questions and/or even worries around results day, so, we thought you might find our brand new Clearing Guide app a useful source of information to help you through the UCAS Clearing and Confirmation process!

Additional Qualifications

You may not be aware but Northumbria University accept a number of ‘additional’ qualifications which can be counted towards your UCAS points total*

Back to top