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Name: ClareDoreen
Course: PG Diploma in Career Development and Coaching Studies

A higher education environment is not new to me but I had thought it was a phase of my life that was long gone. But looking at universities with my teenage kids rekindled a fire and a desire to consolidate my personal development and guidance experience with a specific vocational qualification.

 A winter evening of online research opened my eyes to the world of qualifications in career development. The University of Warwick appealed to me for several personal and geographical reasons, but also because of its national reputation. The modularity of the Career Development and Coaching Studies course allowed me to ‘suck it and see’ - I signed up first for a postgraduate award in Career Development Theories (conveniently starting in April, rather than having to wait until September) but soon gained confidence and realised I was up for more, so transferred to the postgraduate diploma. I’m now contemplating progression to the master’s!

The blended learning structure has many advantages. I’ve loved most the actual workshop days on campus and the opportunity to meet people and make new friends. As a busy mum with a couple of part-time roles as well as community commitments I really look forward to throwing myself wholeheartedly into the role of ‘student’ for hours at a time. Yet the skills of distance learning (accessing and downloading e-books, communicating in forums, chatting and developing ideas via video link, for example) which I had to get to grips with at the beginning have been invaluable during the coronavirus crisis. Who knew that the Skype and Teams apps installed for my university course would be put to such use!

I’ve always been convinced that good communication can help solve most problems and studying has given me more confidence to try and support others. I’ve started a ‘careers hints and tips’ blog aimed at young people on Instagram (c_e_holland) and have also become a bit of a LinkedIn fanatic

I feel that in the Centre for Lifelong Learning there is a fantastic awareness of real people’s lives and how their experiences can be linked to academic study. By the same token I have been really pleased to see clear evidence of academic theory in my everyday life. I’m really glad I took the plunge into higher education again and I am proud to add my Warwick qualifications to my CV and job applications.