Chloe Weatherhead. BA Interdisciplinary Human Studies, (2002)
Currently: Senior Project Manager, Virtual College
I had originally applied to study Psychology but, during a planned year out between college and university changed my mind! The IHS programme appealed to me because it was diverse and, as I didn’t know what career I wanted to follow, it seemed to be relevant to lots of different areas especially anything people focused.
The programme included the traditional humanities of Philosophy and English with other elements including Psychology and Sociology. The outcome was that you learned to look for links between different approaches to the same issue/topic and this meant that you started with the bigger picture before working into the detail. I also liked the fact that the department ‘lived’ in a terrace house just off the main campus, the library was in the basement, which felt much more welcoming than having to walk into an academic setting. The tutors were similarly quirky – corduroy and dishevelled hair seemed pretty typical – but they were very passionate about their subjects.
The University itself always felt very relaxed and welcoming. Friday Night Discos (FNDs) formed the basis of our weekends and you were as likely to see graduates there as those still studying which says a lot about how comfortable everyone felt there.
I would recommend Bradford to others seeking a career in your field. The University of Bradford offers a wide range of subjects which often means that it attracts students who are looking for something outside of the norm.
It’s location means that you naturally integrate with the diverse culture of Bradford whilst the size of the campus means that you feel comfortable. The programme itself is an excellent foundation for anyone who is interested in completing a degree but has not yet decided on which career they would like to pursue.
I stayed in Bradford and immediately started working as a Clerical Assistant within the HR department of a Social Housing Provider. I stayed with Accent Group Ltd for 6 years. During this time I was promoted to Admin Assistant and then Training Officer and my employer supported me through my CIPD qualification followed by my CTP qualification.
As part of my CTP qualification I completed a project on e-learning and supported my employer in rolling out e-learning across the workforce. This brought me into contact with Virtual College, as they were our chosen provider. An opportunity arose at Virtual College and I joined in 2008. Whilst at Virtual College I have worked in Sales, Business Development, Customer Support and Project Management.
My story is probably different to most as I knew that my employer would be making redundancies over a 3 year process. I didn’t want to wait to see if my role would disappear. I knew that Virtual College worked with other Social Housing Providers and so I emailed the CEO at Virtual College and asked him if he knew of any opportunities. I expected a list of contacts at best but the response was a job offer. I’ve been at Virtual College ever since.
I am a Senior Project Manager and I am directly responsible for the Learner Experience Team within Content. I line manage 5 individuals and our remit is to ensure that the products and services that Virtual College produce are learner focused and high quality. We are responsible for test and release. I am involved in and/or lead multiple internal and external projects, I support my team in their roles and development and I work to ensure that the team delivers.
Whilst my day typically starts with checking emails/social media and ends with planning for the next day what happens in between has no real pattern. That’s one of the reasons that I enjoy my job!
Whilst here at Virtual College I want to support the organisation in achieving its aims and objectives. To continue to develop my own skills so that I add value. To learn as much as possible and take every opportunity that is available to me.
I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up and I’ve never had a five year plan. Instead I consider every opportunity that comes my way and make a habit of saying yes. I would suggest that people focus on developing their personal skills; organisational skills, always delivering, always asking questions, emotional intelligence. Always try to see other people’s perspective, build relationships and be a nice, and reliable, person to work with and you will always be first choice when the juicy projects come along.
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