Andrew House achieved a distinction in MSc Leadership and Management from the University of South Wales, whilst working full time in his role as Digital Customer Experience Manager in the West Sussex County Council Capita Partnership. Andrew is one of only three students in the UK to duel qualify with a level 7 Diploma from the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) at the same time as achieving his MSc.
I was promoted from Senior Web Officer to Online Service digital Delivery (OSD) Manager in 2014 and lead a team consisting of Content Designers, Web Editors and Digital Officers that specialise in web content management services. My team manages the West Sussex County Council websites, conducts customer testing and reviews website analytics. We are part of Capita’s wider Digital Customer Experience (DCE) team that includes service design, business analysis and web development expertise to continuously improve our client’s digital services.
I decided to study the MSc and the Level 7 diploma to formalise my learning from the work environment into a globally recognised qualification. My line manager at the time had also completed the MSc at USW and recommended the course. The digital industry I work in is increasingly competitive and an MSc or equivalent is increasingly a ‘must-have’ if you are to progress into the senior leadership positions. I also wanted to expand my knowledge and embrace learning again as it had been over 10 years since achieving my undergraduate BA (Hons) degree.
The course involves weekend block study sessions, with the rest of my studies completed remotely with the support of virtual support. My last year in particular completing my dissertation relied heavily on telephony and email communication with my Tutor Dr Hazel Mawdsley. I was extremely grateful for the support I received from Dr Mawdsley and the University library as I was frequently requesting and returning books by post (which was a reliable and dependable service throughout the course). It was challenging balancing a full-time job and undertaking my MSc and ILM. I devised a structured routine of working on Saturday and Sunday mornings, effectively devoting a 6th working day to my studies. Combined with time allocated for reading in the evenings and using some of my annual leave, this enabled me to achieve a healthy work-life balance.
The most valuable aspect of the course was investigating and reflecting the concept of leadership itself. I also enjoyed learning how leaders can adjust their style and approach to situations to achieve the best outcomes. I particularly enjoyed the sustainable leadership module as this is particularly relevant to a private sector company like Capita working with public service clients. As my area of expertise is digital the change management aspects of this course were highly applicable. The culmination of this course was an 18,000 word dissertation, which was very valuable enabling me to learn new skills and write a comprehensive investigation into a work related issue through a critical application of academic models. I was thrilled at Graduation to also be honoured with the 'Best Dissertation in the Cohort' prize.
I am pleased I was one of only three students in the UK to duel qualify with a level 7 Diploma from the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) at the same time as achieving my MSc. This is already helping my career and my employer has been marketing my new skills to support me in this journey:
The MSc from the University of South Wales has given me industry recognised qualifications that have been recognised by immediate line management and Capita are now enabling me to apply what I have learnt on real life complex work issues that require working collaboratively with colleagues across Capita to implement solutions. I am hoping the MSc and my ILM 7 diploma combined with this new experience I am gaining will enable me to advance my career and move into a senior management role.