Professionals thank the University for helping them into Higher Education.

Posted on 6th November 2013

Thanks to the Work Based Integrated Studies (WBIS) programme offered by the Centre of Work Related Studies at the University of Chester, a new cohort of students will be graduating this week, having gained honours degrees without having to leave their day jobs.

The University’s WBIS programme allows professionals who already work in organisations to gain academic recognition of learning undertaken primarily in the workplace in order to obtain a higher education qualification. The programme offers learners the opportunity to be taught elements of the course at workshops or online and through distance learning, incorporating work-based projects, if desired. 

Among the WBIS graduates are: 

Lee Bennett, from Buckley who will be graduating with a BA (Hons) in Television and Video Production (WBIS).

Lee BennettLee works as an Audio-Visual Technician at the University, responsible for recording lectures, seminars and conferences and uploading them to the University’s Podcast Portal for use as online learning material for students.

With a background in media and audio/ video production, Lee was able to top up his previous HND qualification by completing a TV Production module at the University’s Warrington Campus and a Negotiated Experiential Learning Project (NELM) in which he focused on project management and planning. Through the hands-on aspect of the course, he was able to learn new skills in television production with a particular focus on live studio-based programmes. He now intends to continue studying at Master’s level to enable him to progress his career by moving into a management or lecturing position at the University. 

As Lee is usually responsible for filming graduation ceremonies and streaming them online, he is looking forward to having the day off to be on the other side of the camera at graduation for once! His father John, brother Shaun and his partner Catherine will accompany him to the Cathedral to see him graduate. His mother Elaine, who sadly passed away earlier this year will be there too, in spirit.



Julie Westlake,
from New Brighton, Wirral, will be graduating with a BSc (Hons) in Nursing Studies (WBIS).

Julie Westlake

Julie has worked at the Wirral University Teaching Hospital for 23 years, 13 of which she has spent working as a Theatre Recovery Practitioner at the Clatterbridge site, caring for patients when they come round from anaesthetic following operations. As the education link between student nurses and the University, Julie decided to apply her previous training and experience to help study for an undergraduate degree through the WBIS programme.

Gaining her degree has enabled Julie to further develop the education link side of her role and gain an appreciation of what student nurses experience when training at the hospital.  As a result of her completing the WBIS programme, Julie has inspired many colleagues within her department to study for the same degree, some of whom will also be graduating this week. 

Julie said: “The WBIS programme enabled me to study for a degree at a pace that suited me, while continuing to work full time. My enthusiasm for the WBIS programme encouraged some of my colleagues to enrol on the programme and my eagerness for us all to graduate together helped maintain momentum

“I completed my nursing diploma at Chester and had always found the staff to be friendly in any dealing that I’ve had with them in the past. The flexibility that the WBIS afforded me meant that I was able to study relevant subjects that I could utilise in the workplace.”

Julie now hopes to become an educator of student nurses or to contribute to the education of staff within Wirral University Teaching Hospital. 

On graduation day Julie’s mother Helen, younger sister Sue and her husband Chris will accompany her to Chester Cathedral to see her collect her degree certificate.