Tailor-made studying alongside work enables mature student to achieve personal and professional goals.

Posted on 17th August 2016

A mature student has achieved the double win of progressing at work, as well as achieving a lifelong ambition of gaining a degree, thanks to a University of Chester qualification studied through the workplace.

Paul Carroll, 54 from Great Sankey, Warrington, will graduate this November with a 2:1 in BA (Hons) Operational Management. Meanwhile, he has been promoted to Operational Manager at his place of work as a result of studying on the Work Based and Integrative Studies (WBIS) Programme.

WBIS is a part-time programme, tailored to provide academic recognition of learning undertaken primarily in the workplace. The flexibility of the course, in addition to the ability to access local facilities at the Warrington Campus of the University of Chester, made this programme ideal for Paul, who was able to gain credits through work-based projects which impacted directly on his place of work.

Paul Carroll Paul (pictured left) enrolled on the Operational Management (WBIS) Programme when he was offered the opportunity to study a degree specifically tailored towards his role. After 30 years’ service within the PQ Corporation (a leading worldwide producer of soluble silicates, based in Warrington) WBIS offered Paul not only the chance to gain a degree, which had always been a personal goal for him, but also to advance his career in his chosen field.

With the support of his family and personal tutor, Paul was able to achieve the challenging balance of maintaining full-time work alongside his studies, enabling him to earn a strong 2:1 and be promoted to Operations Manager for a chemical manufacturing plant within the PQ Corporation.

Paul combined distance studying with independent research to take full advantage of the course, which has aided his own personal development and resulted in several promotions throughout his studies. He believes he has improved his communication skills, as well as developing greater emotional intelligence which is essential for his role.

Paul said: “The WBIS programme is very worthwhile, particularly for mature students like myself, as the lecturers’ backgrounds are similar to those of the students so they have a good appreciation of our needs. My lecturer Jeremy Peach immediately understood my desire to study alongside my everyday job which was an immense help.”

He added: “The infrastructure of the course was also very good, particularly having the Warrington Campus on my doorstep with its well-stocked, modern library and a tutor that travelled into Warrington from Chester on a regular basis.”

Jeremy Peach, Director of WRS (Work Related Studies) and Paul’s Personal Academic Tutor, said: “Paul's level of determination and perseverance to achieve his degree was an inspiration and a role model to other students.

“Importantly, Paul was able to integrate his learning into his workplace, enabling him to make a number of workplace improvements, both to the way in which staff are managed and led, and to the manufacturing processes.”