Navigation

News and events

Quantity surveying graduate builds bright future

17 July 2014

Chris Theobald

Single parent achieves first class degree while working full-time  

A Southport-based graduate from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has used the building blocks of learning, cemented with huge amounts of determination, to help fulfil her career ambitions.

Single parent Sarah Holmes, 35, achieved a First class honours degree while also working full-time in the industry and helping her dad to recover following a stroke.

The former Ainsdale High School pupil also won the award for best dissertation having graduated from UCLan’s BSc (Hons) in Commercial Management and Quantity Surveying.

“I’d always wanted to study for the degree but family commitments took priority when my son Harry was born,” Sarah explained. “I then started working in an estate agency and it was there that my interest in the construction industry really began.”

“After I’d completed my work experience the company asked me to work for them full-time while also finishing my degree part-time over another two years. It was an opportunity not to be missed.”

Sarah originally enrolled on a Foundation Degree in Construction and once completed moved on to the full degree. A year before she was due to finish her course, Sarah undertook a period of work experience in the summer holidays for Carillion PLC, a British multinational facilities management and construction services company.

“After I’d completed my work experience the company asked me to work for them full-time while also finishing my degree part-time over another two years.” It was an opportunity not to be missed.

“The final year of my course was really tough,” added Sarah. “My dad had a stroke, I had important course deadlines to meet, final exams, a dissertation to write and I was working full-time while at the same time looking after my son. It was all worth it though. I achieved a First in my degree, as a result was promoted at work and thankfully my dad is now recovering well.

“I’ve really enjoyed my university experience. I had a great relationship with my tutors who were really supportive and encouraged me all the way.”

“My son Harry enjoyed my graduation ceremony. He’s creative while being good at maths and I certainly think he has the potential to follow in my footsteps. Who knows, I may be returning for his graduation ceremony in a few years’ time.”

As to the future Sarah hopes to make continued progress within Carillion. “I feel very loyal to the company, they gave me a chance and I want to repay their faith in me. I’d certainly consider studying for a Master’s degree but in the next two or three years I want to concentrate on achieving my full Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) accreditation.

“My son Harry enjoyed my graduation ceremony. He’s creative while being good at maths and I certainly think he has the potential to follow in my footsteps. Who knows, I may be returning for his graduation ceremony in a few years’ time.”

Sarah was one of a record-breaking 4,600 students who graduated in front of family and friends at Preston’s Guild Hall this week.