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Ava Sim mastered the act of juggling her studies with working life, while looking after two young children


Having studied her undergraduate degree at Robert Gordon University (RGU) and having such a positive experience, Ava Sim was motivated to return for her postgrad.

She took to the stage at His Majesty’s Theatre on Wednesday July 11 at 10.30am to collect her PgDip in Human Resource Management after successfully balancing motherhood and working life with her studies.

Ava (26) from Lerwick said: “I really enjoy learning so although the thought of committing two further years to academia and studying felt a little daunting - especially since my children are young – I knew that by breaking the time down into more manageable chunks and taking it module at a time, it would make it feel more achievable.

“I’ve had an interest in HR for a number of years and I want to pursue a career in HR so this course was perfect. I researched my options for HR qualifications prior to starting my undergrad degree and so I’ve been contemplating doing this course for a few years.

“Since RGU offers an HRM degree, I wouldn’t consider doing it anywhere else. Being CIPD accredited was also clearly an attraction.”

Ava said it wasn’t always easy and there have been some challenging times mastering the juggling act of working, studying and family life.

"I’m proud of achieving a post grad in HRM as it’s been a goal of mine for a long time,” she said.

“There have been challenging times throughout the course. At times it was difficult to get stuck into academic textbooks late at night after a busy day at work, once the kids were in bed. As a family, we’ve been busy over the duration of my postgraduate course. Despite this, I always had my eye on the bigger picture and understood the value of the qualification I was seeking to achieve.

“I’ve enjoyed the flexibility the part-time distance learning option has provided, allowing me to balance and juggle work, study and family life."

She continued: “The highlight was the opportunity to really put learning into action, as opposed to the course being too heavily academic. It’s been beneficial to both myself from a learning point of view, along with my employer to be able to do a workplace study.

“It was a distance learning course that was mainly delivered online; lecture delivery has been engaging and it’s great to be able to refer back to recorded lectures time and time again to embed learning.

“We had the opportunity to hear from a wide range of specialists who brought relevant industry expertise to the curriculum. I really valued the advice, which brought the course to life and provided valuable career insight.”

Ava has previously shown the same dedication and drive to succeed as when she previously attended RGU in 2015 where she gained a First Class Honours degree in Business Management she was commuting from Shetland, caring for her toddler, working part-time and heavily pregnant with her second child. After he was born, she would always make sure she attended the tutorials and even had to take him with her, leaving class to breastfeed him. She even competed for RGU’s netball team!

“The course has entailed a lot of practical elements; whether it be conducting research on a real company, or creating employment documentation for a fictitious company, I’ve been required to put learning into practice and make real recommendations. I feel that it has provided a good balance of HR theory along with practical experience.

"At times the course has pushed me outside of my comfort zone, which I’ve definitely benefitted from. It has prepared me well for pursuing my HR ambitions.”

Ava currently works as a Project Manager for NB Communication and has been taking on more HR-related tasks. She is looking forward to what the future holds for her.

Release by Stacey Lynch
Communications Officer
Press and Media Enquiries