Graduate cites ‘life changing’ degree as part of her journey toward national award win

Date 20.03.2023

A graduate who cites studying Psychology as the factor that ‘turned her life around’ has won a national award for returning the favour for others in need.

Tammy Banks – pictured front row, right and also below – graduated in Psychology in 2002 when UON was known as University College Northampton. But her academic career nearly didn’t happen.

After a family breakdown, she left school at 14 with no qualifications and became homeless at 15, living in a hostel for the rest of her teenage years.

She restarted her education at a local college, but took a more defined turn after being pointed toward a university degree and the possibilities it offered. She says: “I didn’t think university was an option, but I did it and it proved to be a nurturing and eye-opening experience. The University was supportive, accepting, and non-judgemental, which was very important given the challenges I’d already tackled. I had fantastic lecturers who inspired and encouraged me to want more for myself and to go out there and make a difference. For three years, I lived a completely different life that changed everything.”

Twenty years later, Tammy is now the co-founder and director of Taye Training. It provides training and development programs to within the criminal justice, social care and charity sectors. She also works as a Lay Member in Parliament, assessing and adjudicating complaints about MPs.

Her passion for changing other people’s lives has netted her a national Women in Innovation Award from Innovate UK, part of their aim to boost the number of women entrepreneurs.

Tammy Banks

Tammy adds: “I am thrilled to receive the Women in Innovation Award. The funding we receive will provide scholarships for 25 women with experience of adversity to complete our Training 4 Influence ‘Train the Trainer’ course. These scholarships will support women in their pursuit of education and career development. Their training will reach over one million frontline workers, supporting retention, and their ability to deliver improved outcomes for over five million complex or vulnerable people.

“The University took a chance on me. They made me feel safe and supported and helped me to grow. Education changes lives and studying Psychology there was a turning point in my life and one of the reasons I am leading a mission to ensure professionals working in frontline services have access to good quality, values-led training.”