“When I started this degree, it was the only BA level Artist Blacksmithing course in the world. I found that although you’re given a huge amount of freedom in both the studio and the forge, there’s also more tutor coverage. In fact, it’s unusual if you don’t have a tutorial every week. It’s a design-led degree and I’m coming out very confident in my design ability, so the next step is how to get work experience; whether with blacksmiths or in galleries and installations. This will allow me to build on my practical and production skills.“
Julie Hyett, Josie Beavan and Moe Powis
“We all started studying OCR Book Keeping, then we did the SAGE course, then we thought why not go on to Level 3 and here we are graduating for Level 4! We’d definitely recommend the course even though it was really hard work, especially trying to manage our work and families as well. Graduating feels like a real achievement and gives us a chance to properly celebrate all our hard work. We have been together all through the courses and when times have been hard we have been there for each other: that companionship has kept us all on track.”
Kate Newby had barely started the Foundation Degree in Learning Support when she was struck by a personal tragedy. Her husband died suddenly, leaving her with three small sons.
Kate reflects, “Shortly afterwards, I realised I was pregnant with my daughter. It would have been easy to have given it all up at that point, but it is thanks largely to the Course Leader, Jean Bourne, that I continued.
“She was very compassionate and nurturing, and encouraged me to continue by taking my time and doing it in small steps. One of proudest days of my life was when I graduated and my parents and children were there to see it.”
After completing her foundation degree, Kate then entered the second year of a BA (Hons) degree in Primary Initial Teacher Education at the University of Worcester, from which she graduated with a 2:1. She had been concerned about being a mature student and the eldest in her class, but she need not have worried.
“The whole group was very supportive towards each other and the teaching staff could not have helped us more,” she said. “I had previously worked as a police officer in east London but both my husband and I left the force and moved back to my home town, as for me the job was incompatible with having children. I needed a new career and one where I could provide a real future for my children. This became doubly important once I was widowed. I was particularly struck with the close community atmosphere at the University which, for younger students, particularly, is important when moving from home.”
I have been working as the Finance Manager at allpay Limited, which is one of the UK’s leading payment specialists, for five years. I manage a team of eight and so I was looking to develop my general managerial skills and leadership as well as mentoring. I felt like I was already carrying out these skills well but I wanted some further training to make sure I was doing the very best for my team.
It was also a good opportunity to share best practice as there were learners from a variety of sectors, so it gave me a good insight into other industries. I’ve already had fantastic in-house training but this additional training was invaluable. Our tutor was brilliant, covering vital areas of theory and reinforcing it with practical tasks. His support was second to none; he was always ready with help and guidance.
I hope to progress to the Level 7 Postgraduate Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership to develop my learning further. As a business, my training will help in our longer-term growth and I have already been able to take much of my training back into the workplace.