An appeal for your advice Watch

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#1
Report Thread starter 12 years ago
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Hi all, this is going to take a while, so my apolgoies in advance.

I am currently studying for a BA Honours degree in Accounting and Finance at Nottingham Tent University. I decied to take the course because I knew I wanted to be an accountant at that time (several carers guidance packages and my own research strongly suggested it). I decided on NTU because they offered a slightly better package of support than some of the other universities offering the same course in the North and Midlands (I am partially sighted).

Anyway, I'm now in my third year, and it's a sandwich 4 year course, hence I'm in the midst of my year's placement, which I'm doing with the University's finance office. Just under 2 months in and I'm now sick of the sight of spreadsheets, as most of the work we do, as admitted to by several of my colleagues, involves producing spreadsheets of various types.

I decided to seek independent careers guidance, not from the University careers office as they have little time to discuss options and tend to point you in the direction of the information and get you to do it yourself. I went to the Changekey Partnership, a small advisory partnership in Nottingham, and am in the process of spending £460 on their services. So far they have performed a set of psychometric tests and profiles to determine my team role, motivations, skiills and interests, work preferences, values and preferred work activities and environments. I've sat down and discussed the results with the advisor, and the information from the profile seemed to suggest, as far as I could gather, a career advising people in some way. I go back to discuss my career options and whittle those down on October 24th.

Anyway, I retook some of those online careers guidance assessments too, and they're pointing at accountancy being way down the list, and careers in things like research/information scientist, and other similar researching and advising careers as my best options.

Anyway, what do I need your advice on? Well, if I change my career goal, what do I do about the 1 year of my degree left after this placement? I will see the placement through as this is general office experience if nothing else. But if my career goals have changed, I do not believe I would have the focus and determination to be able to focus on a specialist accountancy dissertation next year. I'm thinking I might be better starting out on whatever course I need for whatever my new career turns out to be.

obviously I can see the benefits of finishing my current ddegree, in that I'll actually have a degree to show for it. But I also have to consider the implications for student finance - can I get the loan if I take a second degree? How about tuition fees, i get them paid in full by my education authority at the moment. And Disabled Students Allowance is another one, that pays for equipment and support services needed as a result of being partially sighted. These are all considerations I'll have to bring into the picture, and obviously I will ask the careers advisor I see from Changekey and at the University, and the Uni's student support finance people, but anything you can come up with would also be appreciated, as "impartial" readers!

Look forward to your comments, advice etc.

Neana Lawson
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Howard
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Report 12 years ago
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IMHO you really need to decide what it is you do want to do. If you can sort that out you may find that you won't need to do another degree to do it - you may instead be able to take professional qualifications via some sort of distance learning. For example (completely irrelevant jobs but it's the principle I'm trying to put across here) - if you had a degree in accountancy you wouldn't need another degree to become a building surveyor would you? -OK, you would - but you could do it relatively inexpensively via distance learning and examinations rather than have to start from square one and do another 4 year sandwich degree.

Once you know what you want you can explore your options accordingly. Until then I'd be inclined to steer a straight course and finish your current degree which is a respectable one, and one that should open lots of doors. So "grit your teeth, think of England" and stick it out.
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This is advice that I have received from many people on many occasions, and I know it to be sound advice. However, i can now update the situation.

My meeting with the careers advisor on October 24th wsent ahead as planned, and we discussed my dcareer options. My top 3 in order came out as independent financial advisor first, advice centre worker second and adult guidance worker 3rd. Having researched independent financial advisor, I discovered the salary for this work was mostly based on the numbe rof financial products sold to clients, like a salesperson on commission, not the secure salary I'm seeking. Idon't want to work solely in an advice centre really, but adult guidance worker, helping peole findi their enxt stage in life, career direction or educational course, would really appeal to me, so that's the direction I intend to head for.

I can still see the arguments for continuing my degree to its completion, but I'm finding it hard enough keeing my focus on my placement, never mind attempting to focus on researching for and writing up 10,000 words for a dissertation! I really do not feel that I could perform well if I were to complete this degree. As it stands, my degree rating is 50%, a low second class degree, so not very good really. I had to esit 2 modules last year, and 1 this year. I believe this may be another indication that I need to change, but I may not be right on this point.

Anyway, I'm now seeking information on courses, prefrably at undergraduate level, that I can take in careers advice or advice and guidance. I've found 2 - both at Northumbria University - one called Disability Studies with Counselling, advice and guidance, and the other called Professional Practice Studies with Counselling, Advice and Guidance. Both of these sound great and would be relevant to my career direction, so should be motivating for me. But I'd like to apply not just to northumbria but for some others too, so if anyone knows anywhere that does anything that might be relevant to an advice/guidance career, I woud be interested to know.

Thanks, and I look forward to anything you might have for me.
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Report Thread starter 12 years ago
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OK, [email protected] had another meeting now with my careers advisor. There is a degree in Human Services at Nottingham Trent University where I am currently studying, and that includes an advice and guidance pathway. So that's an option. Problem is, as this would be a transfer from one course to another, my funding would be disrupted. I could get funding for only one year of my course - the final year. How do I fund the other 2 when most of my family are on benefits? Not possible really I don't think, unless anyone knows of alternative sources of tuition fee funding?

My careers advisor informs me that I could take the Qualification in Careers Guidance, a Connexions accredited one year professional diploma. although most people already have a degree to go into this, some people go into it without as long as they can meonstrate they are able to study at that level. I'm sure that's possible in my case, so if the funding is there i might go down that road.

Alternatively I could apply to Connexios and do on the job training and an NVQ at levels 3 and 4 in advice and guidance.
Those are my options - degree with 2 years self-funding, Qualification in Careers Guidance or NVQ 3 and 4 in advice and guidance.

Some people have questioned whether I should finish my placement year. The placement is for my accountancy degree, which I am now sure I intend to quit. Is it worth me completing the placement fo r it? I thought it was, as it will give me transferrable skills, and look good on my CV and give me money in the bank. However, a friend of mine thinks I should quit the placement and course now, and find relevant work experience with Connexions or somewhere, then do whatever course next year. If I do that, I lose this accommodation as it is for students only, so I would have to find someone else to replace me or put up the rest of the year's rent despite non-occupancy. That also means getting everything out and having somewhere to take it, either home or somewhere else. Also in a way it would seem a shame, as we are just about getting Access to Work funding on our side for some support I need as a result of being partially sighted. But don't let eithe rof these sway you in any advice you give, they are side issues that can be dealt with somehow.

Any advice on what to do with this placement is gratefullly accepted. If I do quit it now, I don't want to have to do so face to face, I'd rather do it in writing, which to me seems cruel and impolite but I don't think I could do it any other way. I get too emotional doing it face to face. lol

I'm rather turned inside out by this one at the moment, so please, any advice is welcome.

Thanks.
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Thailandneil
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OK, I'm going to give some slightly different advice. I'm definitely a part of the degree-doesn't-matter camp.

First, deal with the immediate problem. Talk to your manager or who ever you report to and tactfully explain that you don't think they are using you to their best advantage, suggest some extra/different work you could. If that doesn't work talk to someone at uni about the possibility of doing two 6 month projects instead of one 12 month project. Try and find an interesting second project. Hopefully, this should improve your immediate situation and have you feeling a bit better. If all else fails then I would advise you stick it out, save the money, take this time to really research other potential careers. Not just with computer tests but read books, biographies, films, documentaries - whatever works for you.

Second, stick out the degree. The final year will be finished before you know it. try with all strength to get a 2.1. A 2.1 in Accountancy will open up doors to areas you have never imagined and you might just be interested in. The thesis could be a problem but the beauty of university (in theory) is that it is an academic training not vocational training. Try and think of something really, outlandish and different, something that interests you. Perhaps you can write about a subject which you briefly touched on but didn't study in depth? Does it have to be 100% pure, traditional accountancy?

Third, find a job you love. Here's a little secret, there is no such thing as the perfect job. As soon you find what you thought was the perfect job there will be another itch you have to scratch. Whether its the people, the work, the money, whatever, there will always be something imperfect about the job. The solution: accept this fact. Don't make work the centre of your life but make sure you find something interesting with the scope for change when you get the itch. Make sure you have a strong background (i.e 2.1 Accounting) which allows you to switch.

So once you have your degree then what? Well, there are so many opportunities for re-skilling and re-training which take one year or so. Use your time now on the placement to investigate these and funding/loans available.

Good luck!

Neil
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Thanks for the reply. You mention talking to my supervisors about doing something other than spreadsheets. The only response I get to this is that 90% of work in finance is spreadsheet based, and also that the rest of the teams I am workingwwith are bogged down in phone enquiries, sorting out errors caused by system problems and all sorts of stuff, so they don't have time to prepare these spreadsheets, which are needed for the finance directorate and others to make important decisions.

You also mention doing 2 6-month instead of 1 12-month project. For my degree, as it is a sandwich course, it has to be one year full-time in the same organisation, so this would not be possible.

You say you are a part of the degree-doesn't-matter camp, and yet you also say to stick it out, so I'm finding that a bit contradictory to be honest! lol. However, as far as sitcking it out is concerned, my whole reason for taking the accounting degree was to become an accountant. Now that that reason has gone I do not have another one, apart from just finishing it, and this is not enough motivation to push myself into a ten thousand word final year dissertation on a specialist area of accounting. You have to have a high degree of interest in the subject matter to be able to come up with a good dissertation on it.

I am becoming very tempted to find a careers guidance trainee or apprentice position somewhere, if I can find alternative non-student accomodation. At least then I would be doing something relevant to my future career goal, however that decision is not yet final.
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jenniejules
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just a few points for you to consider;

any job with training paid for by employer may mean that the emloyer will look for 'sticking power' before they invest in you.

some of a careers advisers work is research and inputting of data, employment stats and updating of destinations; all a core part of the role.

If in future you were to go to senior or management roles, your knowledge of spreadsheet-style work, number crunching and management would be extremely useful.

So, if you can find the motivation to complete your degree, the skills you can evidence would be directly transferable.

You may also consider working with youth and community projects as a volunteer, to show your experience of woking with young and sometimes vulnerable people.

you can take the qcg with or without sponsorship/bursary from an employer, and if you are studying it without that support there are also bursaries around from the unis and the ICG (I think). The chance of employment for those who complete the QCG are very good, as there is a shortage of qualified careers advisers. If you do the QCG, most NVQ assessment centres exempt you from about half of the NVQ 4.

You may be wise to look before you leap. As you now know how much work experience helps you get a 'feel ' for the job, ask to be allowed to spend some time in a Connexions CAP to get an insight, or talk to the staff. I suspect it would be very hard for you to actually shadow a worker owing to the confidentiality issue.

Finally, If you are really up for the QCG, perhaps the best step would be to talk to your local provider, about what would happen if you replaced the final year of your degree with their course (if it's undergrad); you may be able to merge your degree into something like 'professional studies'. Or they may advise you to finish your degree and do it post grad. Either way, get their take on it before you close any doors.
Good luck!
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