Former City College Plymouth student, Beckie Kelly, has always enjoyed working with numbers. As a young child she would help her publican grandad with cashing up and calculating the takings, and found she had a passion for carrying out calculations and solving mathematical problems.
She decided early on that she wanted to become an accountant and before joining the College she took A Levels in maths, business and biology at Devonport High School for Girls. Her sixth-form tutor had encouraged the pupils to attend an open day at City College Plymouth, where she learned she didn’t have to attend university right away to achieve her goal. Due to her father’s poor health, Beckie wanted to stay close to home, and she decided to do the Accounting and Finance Foundation Degree here at the College.
Throughout her A Levels, Beckie had experienced severe migraines, which made studying difficult. Within a couple of months of starting her course, the stress-induced migraines – which were similar to multiple mini-strokes – were less frequent, and she put that down to being in a more relaxed environment.
Beckie explained: “The staff really looked out for the students; Linda, one of the lecturers, was like a second mother. During my A Levels I really suffered with migraines and I think that was down to the pressure. The Foundation Degree is still a busy course, but the lecturers delivered it in a way that made it more digestible, and they couldn’t do enough to help you. I don’t have children, but several on my degree did, and they’ve also spoken about how the staff would do what they could to get them through their studies.”
After successfully completing the Foundation Degree, Beckie went on to do a top-up year at the University of Plymouth, which led to her gaining a BA (Hons) in Accounting and Finance.
About the top-up year, Beckie said: “The Foundation Degree fully prepares you for the top-up year. I didn’t feel any less prepared than those who had been at the university for two years. The College provided us with the knowledge necessary for the final year and, ultimately, for a career in accounting and finance.”
Beckie quickly found employment and is now a fully qualified accountant, working at Riley Chartered Accountants in Plymouth, but still enjoys a good relationship with Linda and the other teaching staff and gives talks to students who are hoping to follow a similar path.
Beckie said: “City College Plymouth provided me with a supportive environment and the skills necessary to get my degree. Before I visited the College for an open day, I hadn’t really considered any options other than going straight to university; but this route worked for me, and I think there is a lot to benefit from being in a smaller learning environment that really allows you to develop close relationships with both staff and other students. My route into accountancy possibly wasn’t the one most people take, but I would fully recommend to others keen to work in finance.”