Sandra Park, 45, relished the chance to get stuck into studying towards a Teesside University degree.
BA (Hons) Business Management (Hospitality)
Sandra juggled her job as catering co-ordinator at Darlington College with part-time study in the University’s Centre based there.
What have you gained from studying?
Since completing my degree I have secured promotion to the role of catering operations manager at the college.
When I started work at Darlington College 12 years ago I was encouraged to do different courses. I started to do NVQ qualifications which led me to work towards the HNC and HND in hospitality. When I was offered the chance to top up my qualifications to a degree I took it.
How did you juggle work and study?
Studying while working can be a bit of a juggling act and it did get a bit difficult last year when my dad Harry died, but thinking how pleased my dad would be to see me carry on kept me going.
I didn’t really knuckle down when I was at school. I had a family when I was young and took part-time jobs. It was only when my children were grown up and I started work at the college that I thought about returning to education.
What advice would you give to anyone considering studying?
I feel that I have learned a lot from the degree and it has really helped in my work. The lecturers were really great and there was a lot of support.
I’d say to anyone who is thinking of returning to education or combining study with work to just go for it. It can be difficult while you’re doing it, but the results make it worth all the effort.
It’s great that Teesside University is offering courses in Darlington as it provides better opportunities for people on their local area, without having to travel away from the town. It’s also great to think that I’ve achieved my degree from the University of the Year.