Posted 1 May 2012
I felt really anxious prior to starting the degree and spent two years considering it – I wish I’d done it before!
A monthly special featuring a current student from Harper Adams.
Mature student, Laura Dixon, chose to return to education by making the move from licensed retail to start a foundation degree in Animal Management and Welfare at Harper Adams University College.
The 30-year-old from Telford has always wanted to work with animals and after considering a variety of courses, settled on the University College in Shropshire.
Laura said: “I regretted not going to university earlier, so Harper Adams proved a great opportunity for me to fulfil that ambition.
“The course structure is good and there are great facilities on campus such as the Companion Animal House. The post-graduation employment statistics also appealed to me.”
Despite enjoying her career as a retail manager, Laura found that the anti-social hours didn’t suit her lifestyle when she started a family.
She added: “I felt really anxious prior to starting the degree and spent two years considering it – I wish I’d done it before!
“So far I’ve received a lot of support and have managed to strike a really effective university/home balance that hasn’t compromised caring for my daughter.
“There are grants available and I was lucky to be awarded a scholarship to help with study costs. I’ve also been helped by the extra study sessions available on subjects such as essay writing and examination techniques.
“Everyone has been really nice and despite them being younger, I’ve made good friendships and feel involved.”
Laura is currently on placement with the RSPCA in Shrewsbury as an Animal Care Assistant. Her typical day involves performing health checks and vaccinations, as well as general care.
The former Thomas Telford High School student, said: “I’ve really enjoyed working at the RSPCA and feel that I’ve been able to put the skills learnt from my previous career into practice as I’m used to the working environment.
“Post-graduation, I hope to pursue a career in welfare research, possibly working at somewhere like the RSPCA. I also plan to top-up to a BSc degree.”