My B&FC: Elise Strother

Elise joined B&FC on the Level 3 Fast-Track Business course, progressing to the Foundation Degree in Business Management (Human Resource Management).

Elise now has her sights set on being a business consultant or running her own beauty business.

“I’m really enjoying it," said Elise. "Quite a lot of stuff has actually fed in from the level 3 programme – we’re just going into a bit more in depth so it’s not overwhelming."

"There are just 20 in my class so it’s a really small group and it’s so much better because you have more discussions – it’s not like there are hundreds of you in a lecture theatre just being spoken at. There are more group activities to learn things."

"And my timetable is condensed to just one day, which means I can still work and earn money as well as getting my studies done."

Here's the full Q&A...

Tell me how you came to be at B&FC

I went on the website and saw the Fast Track to a Degree - it was a 2-year course condensed into 6 months and equivalent to doing 3 A Levels. I then came in and spoke with one of the Business programme leaders and I just signed up that day with them!

You start in the January and then you finish in June and get your results in August and it means that then you can progress onto a degree course in the same year. And because it was only two days a week I could still work and earn money as well as getting my studies done.

I started my degree this September. I only returned to education this January and now I’m studying my degree as well!

Was it a big leap moving to degree level?

I don’t feel like it is because we studied the BTEC so I mainly just did coursework anyway and then over the summer, the Higher Education Learning Mentors (HELMS) ran sessions on Teams when they went through the difference between level 3 and level 4 and writing differently at degree level.

Also, one of our modules is Introduction to Academic Study so in there we’ve already learnt about how to write critically and structure assignments, so we’ve got a whole module on how to transition that also goes towards your grade!

Are you enjoying it?

Yes, I like the content. And quite a lot of stuff has actually fed in from the level 3 programme – we’ve already touched upon it, and now we’re just going into a bit more depth. You know when sometimes all new information being thrown at you is a bit overwhelming... well, it's not like that, because we’ve already covered the basis of it at level 3, it’s just taking it to that next level.

What’s your timetable like – is it as good as the Fast Track?

It’s better! It’s condensed down to just one day. So we just do one day, Wednesday, which breaks my week up.

What are the class sizes like?

The classes are quite small, which is also why I wanted to come to B&FC. My perception of uni was that hundreds of you sit in a big lecture hall and just get spoken at for three hours, then you’re told to go and study and that’s it!

Whereas here, I think there’s 20 in my class so it’s a really small group and it’s so much better because you have more discussions - it’s not like you’re just being spoken at - there are more groups activities to learn things.

Are your class mates a similar age to you?

It’s the full range, so there are people in their forties and then a woman in her sixties and then there’s a girl who’s younger than me (she’s fresh out of college, she’s 19),  but it’s good because everybody’s done different things.

What are the tutors like – are they supportive?

Yes, you can always message them. We also have a progress tutor and we can go to them about anything really - they’ve also introduced us to the HELMS team, the library team, and all the different resources available, and they’re helpful in terms of actually understanding the course content.

Will you get to do an industry placement?

I personally don't need one because I work in Pensions at the moment so quite a lot of it applies to the course as well. So I just apply that to all of my knowledge and still get paid.

Is there anything that you’ve found challenging?

In terms of the actual content no – like I said, we’ve touched on the basics in level 3 so it’s just kind of building on that knowledge and applying it to degree level now.

What are your future plans – have you got a dream job in mind?

I’ve got two completely different ones! I’d like to be either a business consultant or I’d like to run my own business in the beauty sector.

Will this course help you to get there?

Yes definitely. I didn’t think that I would ever study a degree because education has never been my forte, it’s never been something that I’ve loved to do. But then I got to a point in my job where I was like I can’t go any further unless I at least get a level 3 qualification.

Then once I was on the level 3 and we attended an open day at the University Centre, I thought ‘I can actually do a degree if it was like this’ because - like I say -  my perspective of doing a degree was so different to the reality at B&FC. I think it's made it more manageable for me to be able to do it.

Has the degree given you new skills?

It’s given me new skills in relation to my writing skills definitely. It outlines thinking critically and making sure you analyse your work rather than just describing what’s happening, putting across your own opinion and things like that – so it’s changed the way I actually read information and look at it from a bigger perspective.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about progressing to a degree at B&FC?

I would say attend an open event and find out for yourself - don’t have a perspective on it like I did, be a bit more open-minded and bear in mind it’s more manageable than you would think, definitely!