AWARDS 2011: 'Credit Crunch' Gives Graduate's Career Bite

19 January 2011

Heather Anderson

Graduate Heather Anderson, pictured in the University's Kedleston Rd library, will be awarded a First Class Honours Degree.

I wish her every success in her future career in finance."

Darren Byrne, Accounting and Finance Programme Leader.

The 'Credit Crunch' caused Heather Anderson to leave her job in a finance company and enrol on a degree course - now she's helping the NHS deal with its financial issues.

Heather, 37, left school at 17 with average grade GCSEs and had only one A-level by the time she joined the University of Derby's BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance degree in 2007. Tutors took her life experience into account when accepting her course application.

She will graduate with a First Class Honours degree at the University's Awards Ceremonies on Friday 21 January and will also be one of the Vice-Chancellor's undergraduate prize-winners.

Heather, of Overseal, Derbyshire, said: "I was about to be made redundant from my sales post with a finance company and decided it was time to go after a job I could really enjoy.

"I had done an Accountancy A-level in 2000 and enjoyed that but it was the only A-level I had. I spoke to the tutors at the University of Derby, who were great, and I managed to get onto a degree course. It was a bit daunting going back into education after such a long period of time."

Ironically, having left her job at the beginning of the Credit Crunch Heather's final year dissertation was on that very subject and the collapse of the Northern Rock Building Society. She received an A grade for her work and subsequently a First Class Honours degree.

Heather is now training under the National Health Service's West Midlands Graduate Finance Training Scheme. Over three years she and her fellow graduates will learn all about the different NHS financial systems, so that they can advise budget managers on how to make the best use of their funds.

"The job is very interesting as the training involves us moving around a lot and dealing with different financial issues, so we get as much experience as possible," she added.

Darren Byrne, Accounting and Finance Programme Leader at the University of Derby, said: "Heather has shown there can be alternative routes for students with previous work experience, rather than purely the traditional A-level one. People can forge a new career for themselves by choosing an appropriate academic route into employment.

"I wish her every success in her future career in finance."

Lynda Snape, Finance Development Manager at NHS West Midlands, said: "The aim of the West Midlands Finance Training Scheme is to attract potential 'high flyers' to NHS finance roles.

"Our scheme provides flexible, challenging and top quality training that meets the needs of local NHS organisations, finance departments and trainees.

"Heather will undertake a three year training programme that will help her to grow her skills and abilities, and to move towards the next step on her own personal career pathway."

For further information please contact Press and PR Officer Sean Kirby on 01332 591891 or 07876 476103, or email s.kirby@derby.ac.uk

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