Vicky Wilshaw from Tameside works as a Sales and Marketing Executive at Analytical Technology Inc (ATi) in Delph in Saddleworth. ATi is an American based company which designs, manufactures and distributes analytical instrumentation, based on electrochemical and optical sensors. The Saddleworth site acts as the company’s European headquarters, and looks after sales and distribution of the company’s products across the UK and Europe.

Twenty five year old Vicky has been with the company for about six years, having joined after completing her A levels at sixth form college. When she started at ATi, she was mainly involved in accounts work, and gained a Level 4 AAT Diploma.. However, over time, her duties became more varied, and she decided that she would like to study for a broader management qualification. Her cousin was on a Business Management Foundation Degree programme at The Skills Company, and recommended the course to Vicky.

Vicky enrolled and started the course in summer 2012. The course had previously run over three years, with the usual academic year breaks, but from 2012, it became a two and a half year course, running throughout the whole year. Vicky attended the Academy in central Manchester for one evening per week from 4pm to 8pm. Vicky’s company was very supportive, and agreed to fund the programme. Although it wasn’t easy balancing the course with a full time job, Vicky found that the content of the programme was interesting and relevant enough to make it worthwhile.

The course covered a wide range of subjects relating to the management of a business, and included Understanding People and Processes, Financial and Legal Aspects of Business, Business Economics and the Business Environment and Marketing Responses.

Vicky graduated with distinction in summer 2014, and is now planning to enrol on the top up course at the Academy which will give her a full honours degree.

Vicky said:

“The course was brilliant. The facilities at The Skills Company were excellent, and if I lived closer to Manchester, I would have used them even more. The course worked really well as a part time option and I was able to relate the course content directly to my work, and use my experience in the workplace to help with my studies. Working with the other students in the group was great as I got an insight into how different organisations work.”

“I would definitely recommend the Foundation Degree to other people. My aim is to progress into a management role in the future, and I feel that the course has given me a really good grounding in management that I am sure will help in my career development.”

Vicky’s manager, Mike Strahand, who is General Manager, Europe for ATi said:

“The Foundation Degree has been really great for everyone. ATi is committed to personal and professional development and the content of the course and the way the course has been delivered has really worked. ATi now has a more rounded employee and Vicky has stated often that she has enjoyed the whole experience. Vicky is proof positive that there are alternative routes to full time study."