Returning to study a Master's at Buckinghamshire New University 'flicked a switch' in the confidence and ambition of a successful graduand.
Mum-of-two Jane Whiley, a Medical Resourcer with High Wycombe company Zenopa Ltd, won the Student of the Year award from the Chiltern branch of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, for the overall performance on her Master's in Human Resource Management (MA HRM).
Jane, a course representative during the two-year qualification, says studying a Master's at Bucks New University has taken her confidence 'to a new level' and meant she was now approaching her role with renewed vigour.
She said: "My Master's has been a transformative experience.
"As a working mum and a mature student, coming back to university after a mere 25-year gap was very daunting initially but my Master's has flicked a switch for me.
"Following many years in which I found it hard to find the confidence to take my career in the direction I wanted, studying this qualification has given me the knowledge and confidence to develop and drive forward ideas and opinions I didn’t even know I had!
"I have enjoyed having a voice and thinking critically and a curiosity that’s been dormant in me has been re-awoken."
Jane, who has worked at Zenopa since 2004, received £100 of book tokens from the Chiltern branch of the CIPD as Student of the Year.
She added: "I feel I had had something of an imposter syndrome in my studies, initially wondering whether I was good enough, but learning from my tutors and fellow classmates, and taking advantage of the networking opportunities through the CIPD, has been a hugely worthwhile experience and put those feelings to rest!"
Jane followed husband Keith in completing an MA HRM with Bucks.
Explaining why she enrolled on the course she said: "I had an appetite to learn and to become an expert in a people-centric specialism related to my job, having always worked in people-liaison roles such as Customer Services and Training and Recruitment.
"The timing was right, my boys were happily settled in their secondary and primary schools; and with the encouragement of my husband I decided to take on the challenge and to re-focus on my my personal development.
"I have enjoyed the course immensely, including the relevant real-world assignments we have undertaken.
"The MA HRM at Bucks, being fully accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, is an internationally-recognised qualification that signals to employers that you have the requisite HR skills and knowledge.
"It’s about choice and opportunity and I believe that’s what my Master's gives me is an opportunity to really drive my passion for talent forwards.
"As a mid-career student, I now want to maximise my employability and validate my recruitment experience through application of the knowledge my Master's has given me.
"I believe having an MA HRM, accredited by the CIPD, can be that springboard, and indicates I have the mettle, knowledge, and gravitas to add value to the profession, my employer, and my role."
Jane said she was now looking to take on more Human Resources (HR) responsibilities in her current recruitment role and apply her HR knowledge strategically. "That would be a dream fulfilled," she added.
Speaking about the quality of teaching at Bucks, Jane added: "What I have most admired about the tutor cohort on this course is their individual expertise and passion for their subject area.
"It has been really inspiring and motivational as a student to know that what you are being taught isn’t just the curriculum-standard, but goes beyond that.
"You reap the benefits of their lived experience and passion for their specialism, as well as their theoretical knowledge, and that’s infectious. I would like thank Pia, John, Ze’ev, Gail and Dr Asad for all their support, feedback and encouragement throughout the course."
Pia Carnegie, Course Leader for the MA HRM, said she was pleased the qualification would help further Jane's ambitions.
She added: "Jane has worked very hard for her success on the HRM programme.
"Having been out of education for some time when she joined us, and with a limited background in HRM, she spent endless hours engaging not only with the lectures and provided materials, but her peers, lecturers and their feedback.
"Jane should take pride in her hard work and dedication, not only as a student, but also as the student representative for her cohort over the last two years. Her professionalism has motivated all who have had the pleasure of working with her, and is the embodiment of the core values advocated by our professional HRM body, the CIPD.
"Jane has remained humble and supportive to all those around her, going the extra mile even if it meant more work for her.
"At Bucks, our vision is to be a vibrant inclusive community that inspires learning, develops potential, widens participation and ambitiously transforms lives.
"The CIPD’s recognition of Jane’s hard work, continuous drive to learn, her personal and professional development, and peer support highlights the calibre of students we have at Bucks, but also brings a positive focus to the programme team that supported Jane in her successful journey through her studies."