Loren Henry enrolled on to BA (Hons) Youth and Community Work at the University of South Wales (USW), following a change in the law which required her to be degree-qualified.

Based in Newport, Urban Circle Productions and G-Expressions are both not-for-profit arts organisations.

Loren set up Urban Circle Productions with friends to help young people in the local community, engaging and empowering them through the arts.

They started off in an internet cafe, and now we have our own offices in Newport YMCA and are one of the biggest youth initiatives outside of council-led projects in South Wales.

They quickly recognised a demand for dance among young people in Newport, so founded G-Expressions, a dance project where young people can showcase their dance talents and even train as dance teachers.

In 2010, Loren “drew the short straw” when the new legislation required someone from the organisation to be degree qualified.

Loren said: “Looking back, I now know I was the lucky one that day drawing straws! I’ve learnt so much through the course and really enjoyed it at the same time - so much so, once I’d graduated I also enrolled onto the Masters Working with Children and Young People.

“I’m truly grateful to the tutors for the support and inspiration they’ve provided. Following the degree, the Masters course helped further develop the practical elements of the organisation. Understanding the policies, processes and systems that need to be in place, as well as evidencing project outcomes and successes has not only helped us secure more funding, but ultimately improved the work we do as an organisation.

“I feel like my time at USW has enabled me to be the best I can be – something I’m extremely grateful for. My studies have undoubtably contributed to the success and growth of the company, which over the years has gone from strength to strength."