Ayyesha returns to UCB to share inspirational story

January 2017

Ayyesha Hussain

Former student Ayyesha Hussain returned to UCB to share her inspirational journey from teenage mum to prison officer.

Ayyesha, who balanced her studies with caring for a toddler and a baby, told current students how UCB helped her to realise a long-held ambition of supporting people whose lives have been affected by crime.

She completed UCB’s innovative Working with Gangs and Youth Violence City and Guilds Level 3 course, run by respected lecturer and criminologist Craig Pinkney. The programme is recognised nationally and internationally and is run in conjunction with the EU Gangs project.

Ayyesha, who grew up in inner city Birmingham and left home aged 17, said working in a prison was a “humbling” experience and described the challenge of diffusing situations with inmates as “personally rewarding.”

She said: “Prison isn’t what you see on television. You don't hear about the good relationships staff have with inmates; the efforts some staff go to make sure a prisoner’s problem is resolved; the staff who assist with reading and writing for prisoners who have difficulty in this area, and the time staff spend listening to prisoners’ problems just to try and give them peace of mind in a restricted environment.”

Craig Pinkney, whose specialisms include youth violence and urban street gangs, said: “I can honestly say I am so proud of Ayyesha. I have worked with her as a mentor in the community since she was 15 years old. Now it is just amazing to see how her learning has informed her practice.”

Completion of the Working with Gangs and Youth Violence course gives students the opportunity to progress onto a number of UCB’s degree courses. 

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