Redundancy opened up a whole new world of opportunities for Julie Doran – it spurred her on to study for a degree and give her the career she’d been waiting for.
Julie had been working as a carers’ assessor with a specialist mental health trust for many years, working her way up the ranks of the NHS. When she was made redundant it gave her the time and space to tackle the Social Work degree she’d always wanted to do and she graduated from Edge Hill University with a first in June 2015.
“I’d wanted to do this for about 12 years,” says Julie, “but I thought I couldn’t study and work full time, and I was worried about the fees, so I didn’t push myself. I also had lots of doubt in my own academic abilities.
“I knew I had lots of skills and, when I was made redundant, I realised that without the right qualifications I could end up going backwards in my career. That’s when I decided to go to university and I chose Edge Hill.”
Julie already knew about the quality of the courses on offer at the university as she’d been a guest lecturer there on a number of occasions. She had also worked with students from several North West universities who had done placements with the NHS trust as part of their courses and knew that those who came from Edge Hill were of a high calibre.
And it was the tutors and the campus environment which really made up her mind that this was the university for her.
“The tutors were fantastic,” Julie added. “They would notice your anxieties and offer support and advice, sometimes seeking you out to say ‘I’ve found this book you might find useful’. I still had doubts in my abilities but they said ‘don’t you realise you’re really good’ – and then I realised my marks were increasing and reflected that.”
Julie is now working as an agency Social Worker, specialising in older people and dealing with safeguarding and suspected neglect cases. She’s also involved in upgrading people’s care, perhaps from their own homes to residential or nursing care, or assisting those who are ready to be discharged from hospital. She works with individuals as well as their entire families and networks.
And her advice for anyone thinking of a similar career?
“You’ve got to love what you do,” she says. “You must love working with people to the point where you feel something for them. It’s stressful but you get so much satisfaction!”
Find out more about studying BA (Hons) Social Work here.