Laura’s Story

What was your pathway since leaving school?

After 6th form I didn’t know what I wanted to do so I did an apprenticeship with gen 2, after this I began work at James Walker in Cockermouth after a couple of years I decided I wanted more
qualifications so I studied for a business management degree through the University of Cumbria attending classes on a Thursday night at Lakes College. I then continued this through a top up degree in international business management – fast forward a few years and I completed my NEBOSH General Cert before receiving my masters in occupational health safety and environmental management this summer, which I did long distance through the university of Portsmouth.

What made you come back to education?

It was during a time where there were to be redundancies where I worked that I thought I need something more under my belt.

What courses did you start with, where did you study and why did you choose that course?

Foundation degree in business management at Lakes College through University of Cumbria, then a top up degree in international business through University of Cumbria at Energus before doing my masters in occupational health safety and environmental management long distance at the University of Portsmouth. I began with an interest in business and management and the course fit perfectly with the manufacturing element of my work place, I then began to gain an interest I health and safety which became a passion and I therefore choose to pursue this alone for my masters.

What kind of barriers or concerns did you encounter? How did you work through these? Who supported you? Where did you find help?

When I did my foundation degree I worked full time and juggling that and the course was challenging. By the time I did my top up degree I had my daughter in the November so juggling a new born and my course was a new challenge. Having just completed my masters my daughter is now 6 and the challenge has been working, raising my family keeping house and working almost full time. Whilst it has been challenging you just tend to get on with it and find a way, this year has had the added challenge of the pandemic which tripled my workload and left very little time for study but you somehow manage.

Looking back to that decision to return to education, what advice would you give yourself now that you’ve completed your course?

It was the right decision no matter how many times it felt hard it was worth it.

What would you want others who are thinking about returning to education to know?

It’s worth it! It’s also different to anything you may have done before as this time it’s your choice you want to do it and it’s something you are interested in, it’s not like school!