Case Studies

Caroline Berry
Caroline-BerryI am Caroline Berry. I work for a charitable organisation. I first learned about the KYRA foundation degree through its links with the my employers. They were keen for me to take the opportunity that KYRA offered for personal and professional development.

What attracted me to the KYRA degree was the opportunity to work towards a university degree on a structured part-time basis whilst continuing in full time work. The support and mentoring provided by KYRA and my own employers alongside the quality of the course tutors enabled me to develop my thinking and practical skills. The combination of theoretical learning and practical application gave me an infrastructure which enabled me to reflect and develop my own thinking and practical skills.

Throughout the degree. I learnt skills that changed my working practices, thought processes and helped me to develop stronger all round leadership skills. While on the course, I achieved two promotions and now lead on a completely new area for the business and for me! For me, one of the highlights of the course was when people I work with noticed that I was changing the way I worked and I realised I was directly using the skills gained through my KYRA degree to enhance my professional development and to make a valued contribution to the organisation I work for.

Being the kind of person who has always liked to expand my horizons - personally and professionally - , I used my foundation degree to enroll for a further year’s study at Aston University and have now been awarded a B.Sc honours degree in Business Management and Professional Studies. I have proved to myself that I have been able to achieve a highly regarded academic qualification, something I thought was out of my reach until I came into contact with KYRA.

While on the course, I was given the opportunity to become a student representative and sit on the KYRA committee giving feedback on student issues. Later, I became a mentor to other students on the course using my experience to help them succeed.

Anyone embarking on the KYRA degree course will have to show commitment - to yourself, your studies and to to and for others. You will have to invest time in the course. It will test your time management and your planning and organisational skills and you will have to make sacrifices. But it will all be worth it in the end!
Sharon Warmington: KYRA Staffordshire 2015

I first found out about KYRA from Facebook - it was on a friend’s post - and I met with the Course Director, not realising that the course started in a few day’s time! I was unemployed at the time but I incorporated a new company during my time on the course. It is still going and doing well.

I chose KYRA because the in-class sessions with guided learning and a good range of assessments suited my style of learning and lifestyle. I felt that the focus on leadership and management enabled me to draw on my existing knowledge and experience gained over twenty years plus working.

The main challenges were finding the time to complete the assignments and sustaining my commitment to the course. At one point, I felt I had hit a brick wall and was close to giving up, especially as my business was struggling. I was constantly encouraged by the feedback received from staff at KYRA and I found the teaching sessions boosted my commitment each time. I set myself deadlines in my diary and did everything I could to stick to them, even if it meant getting up at 4.00am to read or write!

Walking across the stage and shaking hands with the Vice Chancellor of Aston University on Graduation Day made it all worthwhile. I speak publicly on leadership and management and I know that my degree has added to my skills and confidence.

I have decided not to do any further study at this stage not least because I’ve achieved my goal and my business activity is growing.

When I left school at sixteen, a first generation African Caribbean living in a predominantly white neighbourhood, I was left with the clear impression that Higher Education and University Degrees were for others. It wasn’t until I enrolled in secretarial college that I began to believe that I was intelligent enough to do more. After studying for various vocational qualifications, I always aspired to study for a degree. I’m really glad that I found out about KYRA because I now have that degree.

Abdi Jama

I learned about KYRA from a friend and business partner who knew I was interested in returning to education. After taking the decision to drop out of university at the age of 19 due to changes in my circumstances and increased family commitments, I had been keen to prove to myself that I could meet the challenge of Higher Education.

It was the structure of the KYRA course that attracted me. For most adult learners, flexibility is key; I needed to carry on working so joining a course which was taught at weekends and which enabled me to manage my study time during the week was ideal. I felt it was tailor made for me. In addition to the course workbooks - which are excellent - having on line access to other resources and journals made it possible for me to gather the information I needed to complete my assignments.

To be honest, I found the first year quite tough - reading, writing assignments, keeping up with assessments - and at one point I came close to deferring but after talking to my Learning Counsellor I convinced myself that I could make it. Changing your mind doesn’t always work it did on this occasion. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made as from that point, I found things became much more manageable. I enjoyed the second year. Even though the modules were more difficult, I coped better.

It’s the level of support that makes KYRA unique. The module leaders know their subjects and they know how to teach; the learning counsellors are constantly on hand to give advice and encouragement on managing different aspects of the course. My learning mentor helped me to identify and recognise the value of the skills and knowledge I was bringing to the course through my own business experience. Everyone in the KYRA team was determined to get me through once I had shown I could mange the work.

I took my son to the graduation ceremony to inspire him to do what I have done...and my business is doing well too!

KYRA for Community Regeneration.