We believe in the power of work experience – spending time in a workplace while studying for further qualifications can provide lots of fantastic skills and opportunities, as well as offer insight into the world of work. However, it’s important to take care of yourself at the same time.
After undertaking a 12-week project with Active Financial Planners while studying at Teesside University, and now completing her masters while working full time as Client Support Manager at the firm, it’s safe to say Jess Armstrong has plenty of experience in balancing working and studying.
As part of International Stress Awareness Week, we caught up with Jess to find out more about her role and her top tips for managing stress.
Tell us about your degree with Teesside University – what did you study, what work was involved?
At Teesside University I studied BA (Hons) Business Management. The majority of the work involved writing assignments/reports – usually around 4,000 words per module (6 modules per academic year). The topics of each module varied; however, I have a keen interest in human resources so I chose options relatable to that.
What is involved in your role at Active?
A LOT of back office administrative responsibilities! I currently assist five financial advisers, collecting data for client reviews, working with them to maintain client accounts and dealing with product providers to ensure client actions are completed.
How did you get your placement at Active?
I first met Karl (Active Managing Director) through the enterprise and practice module in second year of university. The overarching aim of the module was to provide students with real client-based experience in relation to practical world of business. Throughout the 12-week module I worked with Karl to develop strategies to attract and retain millennial employees, after our final presentation which outlined our groups recommendations Karl offered me the opportunity to work here at Active. I began working at Active in July 2020 as a CSO and now work full time alongside completing my Masters in human resources management.
Did you find it stressful to manage working and studying?
At times it can be stressful to manage a balance between the two, however I have been very lucky to have such an understanding and supportive employer at Active.
How do you manage stress?
Personally, I like to write lots of lists, I find if I spend an hour organising my workload and priorities it helps me to gain control of my stress levels.
How do you like to relax after a day of working and studying?
I usually like to get organised for whatever I have upcoming the next day, have a home cooked meal and watch a film with my boyfriend.
Do you have any tips for other young people who plan on studying alongside working?
My tips would be ensuring you’re fully aware about what is expected of your course and relay this to your employer so they can help facilitate any time off you may need. I would also suggest making a visual aid such as a timetable so that you can plan your study time effectively and also plan what work you are going to in respect of any deadlines etc.