Dianne Whitley, 61, from Maghull, Liverpool works as an Assistant Regional Facilities Manager at Integral UK Ltd, a leading service provider of mechanical, electrical and fabric maintenance services in the UK, providing a wide range of maintenance solutions.
In 2013, Dianne began to research courses that would help to improve her knowledge and to acquire the skills which would allow her to further develop in her role and career. Dianne explains, “I wanted to study a Management or Business course to improve my skills. I looked on the internet and was impressed with the variety of courses that St Helens College offered. I attended an open evening and after exploring options with the teaching staff, I was so impressed with their knowledge of the subject, I enrolled onto the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) level 3 Diploma in First Line Management, studying part-time one evening per week. I knew it would require focus and hard work in my spare time but I was dedication and determined to reach my goal.”
Speaking of why she chose to study at St Helens College, Dianne explains that the location was a key factor in her decision. Dianne says, “St Helens is a short drive from my main office location in Knowsley. I planned my working week around the evening I was studying as I am a mobile manager and cover a large area of Liverpool.” Studying alongside work and balancing family life is challenging for any student, but Dianne had an even tougher challenge than most.
In 2014, towards the end of the academic year, Dianne’s life was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite the natural worry for her health, alongside juggling work, studying, and supporting her family, Dianne remained committed to her studies whilst undergoing a series of treatments.
During Dianne’s battle with cancer, her dedication to her studies never faltered. Dianne’s course tutor, Michelle Aitken nominated her for the University Centre St Helens Graduation 2016 Rotary Club award which Dianne went on to receive. The award is for a student who has overcome adversity to obtain their qualifications in Higher Education and successfully graduate. Michelle said: “Dianne is a truly inspirational student. Throughout her time studying Dianne never let her illness get in her way. She carried on attending throughout her treatment. Whilst Dianne was undergoing treatment for her illness, not only did she complete her Chartered Management Institute Level 3 qualification but she also enrolled and successfully went on to complete the Chartered Management Institute Level 5 Extended Diploma in Leadership and Management at University Centre St Helens, last year. Her courage and determination is commendable.”
Summarising her time studying on the CMI courses Dianne says: “I enjoyed the CMI courses immensely. My knowledge and working skills have improved hugely along with my confidence. I now work more efficiently and effectively as a manager. I have learnt so much not only from the tutors but from fellow students. The entire course content is paced well and is delivered expertly. The sense of achievement I felt at the end of each submission when I was told “well done you have passed the unit successfully” was motivation to carry on.”
Dianne believes that anybody who is thinking of studying for a professional qualification should do so because of the feeling of pride it gives you. Dianne says: “Give it a try, the tutors will support you and help you along each step of the way no matter how old/young you are. You never know where a course will lead you. The feeling of pride when you achieve your goal is immense. The future is in your own hands grab it while you are able.”
Not stopping there, in early 2016, Dianne was awarded Chartered Manager status from the Chartered Management Institute, the highest status that can be achieved in the management profession. A real testament to her commitment to her studies. To further develop her skills as a manager, Dianne is currently studying the level 3 NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Safety and Health.
To achieve this under normal circumstances has its difficulties, but to achieve during the most devastating time of a person’s life leaves all of her course tutors and class mates extremely proud. Thankfully, Dianne has now received the all-clear.
St Helens College and University Centre St Helens offers a range of Chartered Management Institute (CMI) courses from level 3 to 7. Designed for aspiring, new and existing managers, these courses will support the development of leadership and management skills in personal development, management resources, information, performance and market awareness.