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Lisa EarleLisa Earle, 43, from Huyton left school aged 15 with no qualifications, heading straight into the world of work building a career in retail. After working on the checkout in Iceland on Saturdays, she soon gained a full-time sales assistant role at Ethel Austin before securing a position back at Iceland where she took her experience and worked her way up to become an assistant manager.

It was following a serious, life changing health issue that Lisa decided that she wanted a career change and gained a position with a Merseyside based housing association, Riverside on the reception desk for four years. Lisa explains, “Working on reception was a fantastic way to learn lots about social housing. I accepted the role as a complete novice, with no prior knowledge or training. After four years and a great grounding with the sector, I was ready to try something new in the housing sector.”

At the same time, Riverside Housing was going through a restructure and merger and she was placed at risk of redundancy. Lisa saw this change as an opportunity to further her career and as a result of the changes and new service delivery module. New positions opened up for Housing Officers with Arena Homes, later to become Your Housing Group. Lisa managed to secure one of the two sought after positions after competing with nearly 2000 applications. Lisa says, “The job came with a company car, laptop and mobile phone and was classed as an estate based role. It sounded really exciting, had added bonuses, so I decided the time was right and I successfully applied.”

During her time working in housing, Lisa had begun to take an interest in backing up her practice of working in housing with theory. Lisa completed the level 3 Chartered Institute of Housing qualification in housing practice. She was then motivated to further develop her knowledge and skills and she went on to complete the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) level 4 - Management and Leadership at a university in Liverpool.

Lisa says, “I was motivated to do a management qualification to face my fears and put some educational demons to rest. It was also because the job market has changed massively and jobs for life are a thing of the past. I wanted to ensure that in a competitive market I could demonstrate a commitment to my own continuous development, secure a recognised qualification and hopefully increase my appeal as a potential stand out candidate in a competitive recruitment environment.”

With the level 4 qualification under her belt and supporting in her daily job, Lisa was hungry to take her qualifications further. Lisa began to search online for management courses locally and found that St Helens College offer a full spectrum of CMI qualifications. Located close to home and work and with flexible classes designed to fit around busy work and family schedules, it was the ideal choice for Lisa.

After an informal discussion with the Programme Leader at St Helens College, Lisa decided that the CMI level 5 Extended Diploma in Management and Leadership was exactly what she was looking for to help her meet both personal and career focused objectives.

Initially daunted at the thought of returning to study, Lisa admits that the thought of attending on her first day terrified her, but her fears were quickly allayed when Lisa entered the classroom where she describes her course tutor as “simply fantastic”. Impressed with the facilities and support available, alongside the group ethos of support and encouragement, Lisa felt at ease and looked forward to the remainder of her course.

Lisa explains how the course has helped her grow in confidence both as a person and in a professional capacity, “I have loved every minute of my time at St Helens College. I have made so many great friends and I have been able to apply so much have what I have learnt to my daily working life. I love the fact that there is a full graduation ceremony after all of the hard work, which I am really looking forward to. I didn’t think I would ever have the opportunity to get a photo in a cap and gown!”

Continuing, Lisa added, “Two years initially seemed like such a big commitment but I can honestly say it has flown by. You get out of your assignments what you put in to them and balancing study with work life is tough, but possible. It is rewarding, it is confidence and skills building, and the tutors are behind you all of the way. Nothing is too much, the teaching here is truly outstanding and the support is free flowing and without question.”

Upon completion of the course in summer 2017, Lisa plans to take a short break before progressing onto the CMI Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Leadership and Management at St Helens College and is looking forward to adding chartered manager status to her CV.

Lisa’s ultimate career goal is to become an Assistant Director. Lisa’s advice to anyone considering a return to education is to go for it, without hesitation. She explains, “As someone who always felt academia was beyond me, at the age of 43, St Helens College has changed all of this. Not only do I no longer fear formal education and qualifications, I feel proud of what I have been able to achieve by completing this course and will be forever grateful to St Helens College and my employer who believed in me enough to fund the course and support me with my studies over the last two years.”

If you are interested in studying a recognised Chartered Management Institute qualification with St Helens College, visit one of our upcoming Adult Enrolment and Information Events. They are the ideal opportunity for you to chat with tutors, find out more about courses that interest you and enrol.

Why study Management with us?

Professional Recognition

Gain recognition for enhancing your knowledge, understanding and practice of management.

Progression

We offer progression routes from levels 3 through to 7.

Membership

For the duration of your study you will have access to all key CMI membership services.

Flexible

We offer flexible study to work around your current commitments.

Tutors

You will be taught by industry professional tutors.

Networking

There is opportunity to network and learn from peers across several industries.