Returning to education without giving up a career

Returning to education without giving up a career

Flexible learning enables two HR professionals to climb the career ladder.

Susie Ocana
Susie Ocana, Senior HR Manager for International Automotive Component Group, returned to study part time at LJMU.

Susie Ocana and Natalie Wade prove it’s never too late to learn. They both decided to return to education in order to progress their careers in human resource management.

Susie worried about how to balance her studies with a family and career

Susie Ocana, a Senior HR Manager for International Automotive Component Group, wanted to formalise her 20 years of experience by gaining a masters in Human Resource Management at LJMU. But the challenge was how to juggle a full-time career and four children with studying for a degree. Giving up her job wasn’t an option, so the part-time route available through Liverpool Business School was the perfect solution to how she could achieve her goals without making huge life changes.

The transition back to education wasn’t as bad as she anticipated thanks to the support she received at Liverpool Business School:

“My biggest fear starting the programme was going back into the academic arena and being able to succeed. I hadn’t put together a piece of academic writing in 25 years! The support from my tutors towards my academic learning and my journey of believing in myself has been significant for me as an individual.”

Susie is able to apply this academic learning to her day job and both she and her employer are seeing the benefits of the part-time approach:

“The teaching itself and the programme content is spot on. I put the knowledge I am learning straight back into the work environment. There is the instant value added to the organisation and to me personally, which you wouldn’t necessarily have outside of the working environment.”

Her drive to enhance her performance hasn’t gone unnoticed with her employer; since she’s been on the masters programme, she has been promoted to a senior management position.

“To anyone considering a part-time masters programme I would say go for it. You can balance your work, home and study life. Just get out there and do it.”

Natalie didn’t think uni would be possible

Natalie Wade Natalie Wade has also taken advantage of the part-time study options within Liverpool Business School. Currently working as an HR Analyst at Liverpool Football Club, Natalie is a student rep for her Business and Human Resource Management BA (Hons) cohort at LJMU. She enjoys being able to catch up with other students to share ideas and best practice. But a university experience like this seemed out of reach to her due to her work and family commitments.

“I didn’t think that university was an option for me, I thought that ship had sailed! Working full time since leaving school has meant that I’d become reliant on my salary, and I thought that going to university would mean that I would have to reduce hours in work, which would have a detrimental impact financially. However, LJMU have devised the part-time course to suit people like myself, making sure that classes and study support sessions are available to us outside of usual business hours. The staff in the Liverpool Business School have a really good understanding and know that we have all have jobs and/or other commitments, and they always go a long way to try and ensure they give us their full support and make themselves available if we need them.”

“LJMU is recognised worldwide. To be able to say that I’ve had the opportunity to study here will definitely stand me in good stead for the future. The skills that I’ve acquired so far have helped me shape the type of professional I aspire to be.”

LJMU was an obvious choice for Natalie and not just because of the level of support and flexible nature of her course:

“The course covers so many topics and provides a really comprehensive view of HR and business management. Being able to put what I’m taught into practice has definitely enhanced my learning and has had a very positive impact on my career.”

Interested in returning to education? Find out how we can ease the transition.

LJMU offers a number of business degrees and masters degrees on a part-time basis, including human resource management, search for a course that interests you.

HR student conferenceProud hosts of CIPD Student Conference

In March of this year, 250 HR students came together for the annual CIPD Student Conference North of England, held in Liverpool for the first time and hosted by Liverpool Business School. The conference was a huge success, with a 35% increase in attendance on previous years. Find out more about the CIPD student conferences.


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