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Case studies

Joanne Clowes

Joanne Clowes went from administration to project management after completing a degree in construction management. She tells us how it all happened.

Joanne Clowes

I studied at Thorne Grammar School, Doncaster for both my GCSEs and A-levels. I gained 10 GCSEs grade A-C. My favourite subjects at school were History, English and the practical elements of Cookery.

I stayed at the same school for my A-levels as I knew the students and teachers. I had a focused idea of the career I wanted up to the point where I had to choose a university place. I then started to have second thoughts and did not want to commit to several years at university.

I had a break of five years in between sixth form and university. I worked at a building company as an administration assistant for two years and was encouraged to attend university in order to be promoted. I decided to go to university as I was working as an administration assistant and liked the company but not my position within it. I wanted to better myself and improve my position and so approached the directors about possible options.

I was encouraged to seek information about university placements and the company sponsored me to attend university on a part time basis. I decided to study at Sheffield Hallam University because I was only able to study part-time on a one day a week placement so I needed a university which was close to home and work.

Being a university student was hard work. As I was part time it was very intense and there was a lot to learn in a short time. I had to balance study with a full time job, house responsibilities and a social life. Managing money was fine as fees and books were paid for by my employer, also as I was only part time I lived at home. Sometimes I would have to say no to social events if I had assignments to hand in.

On graduation day it felt like all the hard work had finally paid off. As we received our results several months beforehand it was like it became official on graduation day. Since graduating I have remained with my employer and I am now a project manager dealing with contracts up to the value of £1 million. I have been given a pay rise to £25,000 plus bonuses and a company car.

My plan for the future is to gain further experience from the job I do as I learn something new each day. University has made a difference to my life as it has improved my employability vastly. It has made me more confident in my ability and I am proud of my achievements.

I would say to young people at secondary school to go for it and enjoy it! Don’t see the work as a chore or a burden as the rewards afterwards are more than worth it.

Added on: 11/08/2009