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Jade Quinn.

Taking inspiration from the people who have supported her to achieve, a Shropshire graduate is realising her dreams after gaining a first class degree, a Master’s scholarship and a new role in her chosen field.

Overcoming unforeseen challenges to succeed, Jade Quinn, from Shrewsbury, is making her goals happen, since deciding her career direction while studying a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management at University Centre Shrewsbury (UCS), part of the University of Chester (UoC).

Jade was awarded a first in her BA Honours degree, graduating in autumn 2021. She went on to complete work experience with the BBC, Siemens and Beiersdorf, a Master’s in Human Resource (HR) Management, and is starting a new role as a University Recruitment Co-ordinator, with her ambition of also becoming a lecturer in sight.

The 23-year-old says: “My time at UCS has influenced this dream because it made me understand the impact a supportive university and approachable lecturers can have on your future.”

Jade attained her degree with determination and the help of people across UCS and the UoC, despite challenges in her personal life, and the global pandemic.

“It felt amazing to have completed my degree and achieved a first despite the pandemic,” she says.

“Like many people, my mental health suffered as a result of the lockdowns in 2020/2021. I also experienced a relationship breakdown of six years, impacting on my mental and physical health; all of this combined was particularly difficult.

“I spoke to my Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) about what had happened, and I then had one-to-one meetings every week with my tutor. The University also provided free wellbeing services for both emergency and long-term use - they encouraged me to reach out to helplines, provided a counselling service, and helped me extend and defer some assignments. If it wasn’t for my PAT and the wellbeing services, I wouldn’t have been able to complete my dissertation or achieve a first-class grade. They made me even more determined to finish my degree and I didn’t realise how much help the University offered until I really needed it.”

She adds: “I had a real sense that UCS genuinely wanted to help me achieve and, being part of the UoC extends the services that are on offer even further.”

Jade explains it was such support that also helped her choose the career path that was right for her.

“My PAT - who was both my tutor and one of my lecturers - was amazing during this time, as I was confused about what to do following university, but they could offer advice on careers and future study, and they knew me as a person already.”

She continues: “The Business Management course offered a variety of different modules that covered all parts of working in business. This was particularly useful because I wasn’t sure which aspect of business I wanted to study when I was choosing my university options aged 17. We were given compulsory modules in the first year which covered each area of business, but we could specialise further in years two and three. By the third year, I had decided I wanted to work in the field of HR Management, meaning I could focus the modules I studied, my dissertation, and any work experience and volunteering around this subject.

“Following the completion of my studies at UCS, I was offered a scholarship to study a HR Management Master’s at the University of Birmingham, which gave me access, as a student member, to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. I chose this career path based on my enjoyment of People Management-related modules at UCS. Being able to choose a dissertation topic I was inspired and passionate about also helped as this solidified my interest in conducting further HR-related research.”

While studying at UCS, Jade made time to give back, including volunteering for Shropshire Festivals and Shropshire Chamber of Commerce, and made the most of work experience and wider opportunities.

“During my three years at UCS, I toured students round the site, hosted Live Chat events, and helped at Open Days as a Student Ambassador. I also worked a paid UniJob with the Continuing Professional Development team, which gave me new connections. The Careers team also shared opportunities with us, one being a leadership scholarship programme with Santander Universities UK which I completed online during my second year.”

Reflecting further on her undergraduate degree, and all it led to, she outlines that people were the key: “The best thing about my experience at UCS was the variety of people I got to know - some of the people on my course already worked in business or management and some were a similar age to me. I learn best through listening to other people’s experiences and the small group sizes meant we had class debates every day. We could share our own experiences, and I often used these examples in my assignments or in the workplace. The people are definitely the University’s best asset.”

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