Katherine Staples

There is no other course like it in the country – possibly the world! I feel proud of myself for doing the course, my work place has benefited from it and it will be one of my greatest life achievements.
 

Katherine is Head of Safer Communities CIC. Since starting the course her social enterprise turnover has increased from £40k to £400k and grown from 1 member to 15 members of staff.

I had a promotion at work which was to run and expand the newly formed Community Interest Company for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service. Although I had vast experience in working within communities and an interest in business I had no direct qualifications related to social enterprises.

The degree at ARU was the most applicable to the skills I needed and it was also work-based learning.

After starting the course, I’m knowledgeable and confident about running a social enterprise and can now speak with confidence around the table and articulate what we are trying to achieve in the company. Now I feel like an expert in this field in my workplace.

I have also benefited personally from good grades and a strong network of like-minded people I have met through the course.

Campus learning was not an option for me, but distance learning allowed me to do this wonderful course from the comfort of my own home.

Online flexibility to fit around other commitments

I found juggling a full-time job, having two babies, moving house and going through a very difficult personal experience a challenge, which has all taken place while trying to gain the degree. I over-came these challenges by communicating with my tutor and planning my time well.

The distance learning element means that there is a lot of flexibility when it comes to the time aspect of the course.

Realising your potential

In four years our turnover has increase from £40k to £400k. I have gone from 1 member of staff to 15.

I have a business plan, communication strategy and many other documents. I have won several contract and funding grants (European and Big Lottery).

Our Twitter account has become a place where all my staff boast about the good work they do on a daily basis which has brought the team together.

In my first year studying I had a baby and also lost a close member of the family. This turned out to be a very stressful experience. My course tutor, Andy Brady, was completely supportive in a very authentic way and explained how to apply for extensions if required.

Learn anywhere at anytime

Campus learning was not an option for me, but distance learning allowed me to do this wonderful course from the comfort of my own home. I do not feel that distance learning has undervalued my university experience at all!

Tips for students

Complete the modules in plenty of time, so you don’t feel a pinch point during essay time. Interact and contribute with other students during online discussions – I did modules where this happened and the experience was much better.

Plan ahead. Ask for help from family and friends and also celebrate when they essays get submitted – for me this was as much of an achievement as the grades!

Why ARU?

There is no other course like it in the country – possibly the world! Everything you learn is then practically implemented directly into your workplace. The possibilities of this course are really in your own hands.

I feel proud of myself for doing the course, my work place has benefited from it and it will be one of my greatest life achievements.



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