James Wainwright - Undergraduate - University of Derby


Derby Business School Student Profiles James Wainwright

“I was very nervous becoming a student again after so long in 'the real world', but the lecturers were very friendly and made my integration easy”
– James Wainwright

James Wainwright studied BA (Hons) Business Management. He won the Best BA (Hons) Business Management Student and Best BA (Hons) Business Management Independent Study awards in 2010.

At the age of 32 and having been made redundant I had the perfect opportunity to re-assess which career path to follow, and decided it should be teaching at primary school level. However, my current qualifications were insufficient for this career. I approached Derby University who were very supportive and discussed my current qualifications and possible solutions to gain my degree. Following this I joined the final year of the BA (Hons) Business Management degree.

Returning to study

I was very nervous becoming a student again after so long in 'the real world', but the lecturers were very friendly and made my integration easy. They were always available to help when asked and it was refreshing to be able to be responsible for my own learning. There was also plenty of advice available to help me improve my academic writing - which was very rusty at the start of the year!

A current curriculum

Having been in retail management for 15 years, I found the course enlightening and highly relevant to business today. I found many explanations for why things happen the way they do in management, and it provided me ample opportunities to relate the course to my experience. It also enabled me to reflect on the manager I was and the manager I would like to become - I feel a teacher is very much a manager of their classroom environment and hopefully I can progress into school management, where the course will, I'm sure, pay huge dividends!

Balancing study and family

I was in a very low point in my life, having been made redundant, but the lecturers quickly refocused my attention to the course material. During the course, I had the happy news that my wife and I were to become parents. My son arrived in February. With careful planning and an incredibly supportive wife and family, I was able to focus on my study.

Gaining confidence in my abilities

I was very uncertain how I would adapt to studying again and was doubtful if I were able to achieve a 2:2 - the minimum I needed to progress into teaching. I did work hard, but was ably guided through the workload by the lecturing team. I was very happy and spurred on by my first semester results.

The independent study was my nemesis. It frightened me from the start. However, my tutor was encouraging in her approach and always available to discuss my fears, ideas and problems.
Having come from such a low point in my life, full of self-doubt, gaining a first class degree came as a surprise to me. To also win awards (especially for my independent study) was a further surprise to me, given how much I feared it! Amazing!

A new start

I feel my time at Derby University has turned my life around. I am more confident and I am currently completing my PGCE. The skills and knowledge I learned at Derby are fundamental to being able to progress in my future and I am truly thankful for them. I worked hard, had great support and now have a brighter future!