Sales and Marketing Director, Niamh Allen, talks about the benefits of studying a degree apprenticeship at UCLan Burnley, highlighting the positive impact that it is having on her digital solutions business.
Niamh, from Rossendale, enrolled onto the BA (Hons) Business Management Degree Apprenticeship in January 2019 and has been able to make positive changes at her company, IoT Horizon.
IoT Horizon was founded in 2017 with the mission to take the complexity out of the Internet of Things industry. The business supports customers on their digital journey by providing consultancy services and solutions that improve existing processes and productivity.
Niamh explained: “We work in a number of sectors and across a number of solutions, but we always start with the business case. We review the business needs and challenges, the culture for change, and the return on investment. This is where our process starts.”
Talking about the impact of the course on her business, Niamh highlighted the ability to instantly make improvements based on what she had learnt on the course, “I’ve studied modules in HR, finance, marketing, operations and digital tech and they have all been really beneficial because I have been able to put the theory straight into the business.”
“The company was a start-up business when I joined the course, and we needed to strengthen processes in certain areas. My director has been supportive of my degree apprenticeship and has allowed me to make changes within the company based on my learning. I’ve made changes to HR policies, operational strategy and introduced new ways of working.”
"My director has been supportive of my degree apprenticeship and has allowed me to make changes within the company based on my learning. I’ve made changes to HR policies, operational strategy and introduced new ways of working."— Niamh Allen, Sales and Marketing Director at IoT Horizon
Co-founder of the company and Managing Director, Deyrick added: “Niamh has worked very hard on her degree and has had a fantastic opportunity to test the theories in a living lab. We have seen huge benefits and for me, this is the future of degrees.”
The lecturers were highlighted as one of the major positives of the course. Niamh explained: “The lecturers are brilliant! I mainly have Simon and Francesca and they are both great – really knowledgeable and supportive!
“Right from the start, where I was able to catch up in an intense ‘summer school’ because I started the course late and didn’t want to wait until the next start date. The ‘summer school’ allowed me to catch up with the modules that I missed.”
“The course content is always relevant to me and my business which has really helped me understand things better and make changes in the workplace. I think when I’ve studied in the past it has been harder to understand the theory, as you don’t have practical experiences of things like HR and accounts. I’ve been able to produce a sales plan and a marketing plan as part of my assignments, so it is helping both me and the business.
“The tutors are also really understanding of the pressure of studying alongside full-time work and being flexible with assignment deadlines. They’ve kept me going when I thought I’d taken on too much and felt like quitting.”
One other major benefit of the degree apprenticeship is studying alongside people that are also in industry. “It’s been really useful hearing about how other people in similar roles from different industries tackle similar problems to what I have at my company.”
Niamh had intended to go to university after finishing college and had been accepted onto a psychology course at UCLan. However, she decided to go into work and landed a role in sales. “The course just didn’t feel right so I looked at my other options. The degree apprenticeship is more suited to my goals, and I like studying alongside working in industry.”
“I love the Burnley campus, especially Victoria Mill. The facilities are fantastic here and I’m looking forward to seeing the new library because it looks a good place to go and study.”
Niamh is due to graduate in May 2022 with a Business Management degree in addition to being recognition as a Chartered Manager and a Member of the Chartered Management Institute (CMgr MCMI).
Click here to find out more about our Degree Apprenticeships.