More about Kathryn
What made you decide to undertake postgraduate study at NTU?
"Having worked as a secondary school teacher for five years, one aspect of the job I really enjoyed was supporting year 11s with their college and A level choices. This led me to investigate what qualifications were available in this field, and NTU offered the professional qualification alongside a postgraduate diploma (QCG /PGDiP)."
What route did you take into your postgraduate study?
"I studied the QCG / PGDip for one year full time, and within that year got a role as an Employability Adviser at NTU, where I was already involved through my placement. Once I qualified as a Careers Guidance Professional I continued working at NTU for a year, before I decided to ‘top-up’ my qualification to the full Masters by completing a dissertation alongside working full-time in the Employability Team."
What did you know about NTU before you came here?
"I was already familiar with NTU as I had completed my teacher training there, and I knew that the staff were really supportive."
What were the key factors that attracted you to the course?
"Particularly for my dissertation, it was really important that there was flexibility and good access to resources, as I was working full-time alongside my studies. I was actually also studying a second qualification at the same time, so I needed resources to be available online as and when I needed them, and a clearly structured course with supportive and flexible staff. I knew from my QCG / PGDiP that the academic team for the Careers Development course were really supportive and helpful, and that was an important factor in my decision as I had a lot on my plate at the same time!"
When choosing a course for postgraduate study, what did you consider it important to have?
"I definitely valued having a professional qualification as well as the academic qualification, simply because this field is quite vocational and I wanted to develop my skills as much as my knowledge. As my previous careers experience was quite limited, the opportunity to get experience in a working environment was also really valuable, and this was gradually included in the course. We started off with a few visits to some institutions which have strong links with the course, and then this developed into more formal placements. I ended up with a full time job as a result of my placement, so this was definitely key in my success as a career changer."
Is there anything that stood out on your course that wasn't offered anywhere else you applied?
"There aren’t many institutions that offer this course, and even fewer which take as flexible an approach. The course team really recognise the challenges of learning alongside other life commitments, and do what they can to help. Sometimes this is on a personal level, and I got fast responses to any queries I had. It’s also on a larger scale though, through providing lots of online assignments and ways of accessing the same learning as flexibly as possible."
How did you find the facilities at NTU?
"The flexibility and of the facilities were really important to me as I needed to be able to work as and when I could fit it in. Access to buildings and online materials really helped me manage my workload effectively."
If you are working as well as studying, what does your job entail and how do you juggle both?
"My job in the Employability Team at NTU obviously links closely with the Careers course. Although doing both required commitment and organisation, they really supported each other. I was forced to reflect on my practice more as a result of the academic learning, and equally was presented with real life situations which influenced my academic interests. It’s really easy to get into a routine in any job, but studying alongside helped me to question and consider what I was doing day-to-day, ultimately developing my professional practice."
How will your course benefit your employer?
"NTU’s Employability Team is both large and award-winning. I think it is testament to the quality of the course that so many staff in the team have completed their qualifications or topped up their MA at NTU, and strive to improve the service according to the foundation of ethical principals and theoretical grounding that the course provides."
What has been your greatest achievement as an NTU postgraduate student so far?
"I think the course helped me gain confidence both personally and academically. Completing a post-graduate course and achieving a Distinction whilst juggling all of the other parts of work and life really feels like one of my greatest achievements so far."
Have your career plans changed as a result of your postgraduate study?
"I undertook the course as a method of changing career, and I’m very glad I did. I use lots of similar skills as I did when I was a secondary school teacher, but in a different environment. I really enjoy working in Higher Education and hope to remain in this sector for the foreseeable future."
What are your plans for the future?
"At the moment, I have been working as a Careers Consultant for just under a year, so I want to gain a little more experience and continue developing. In the future I would consider a PhD, but want to take a break from study for now."
How have you found the postgraduate community in Nottingham? Is it what you expected?
"I think the students on my course really created a diverse but close-knit community – and this was essential for coffee fuelled library days before assignment deadlines! There was plenty to get involved in around campus, so it was important not to assume that events and activities were only aimed at undergraduates and weren’t suitable for postgraduates. At the end of the day you will get out of something what you put in, so by making a little effort with other postgraduate students I gained so much more in terms of support, academic debate, and ultimately lasting friendships."
Do you have any advice for students considering coming to NTU?
"I really enjoyed studying this course at NTU, and despite being a lot of hard work at times, it was so rewarding and changed my entire outlook. Aside from the staff, the diversity of the cohort really helped broaden my horizons and reminded me that it is never too late to make an active decision to change or develop - regardless of background or circumstance. My advice would be to research the course, visit the campus and meet the staff on an open day to make sure it is absolutely what you want to do. Any postgraduate study is demanding and requires commitment, but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this course to anyone with an interest in the field of ‘Career’."