June 23, 2021
Heather management

Leadership and Management student, Heather Thackray, had been working in the legal services industry for 20 years before deciding to switch paths and return to education.

With a keen aptitude for management, Heather began studying at University Centre Leeds in order to carve an exciting new career path.

Thanks to her zest for learning and work placement, she now works full-time at Amazon as an area manager.

Opportunity to flourish

Although initially apprehensive about returning to learning as a mature student, Heather chose the course in order to study a diverse range of modules.

“My degree allowed me to specialise in various fields including HR, finance, marketing and project management; providing me with an incredibly well-rounded knowledge base. The course was flexible, enabling me to work alongside my degree and study two and a half days a week.

“Returning to learning was such an enjoyable experience for me. At first I was nervous, but I received such incredible support from University Centre Leeds. My tutors all had an engaging, bespoke approach to teaching which made each module really interesting. While studying, I gained a great amount of knowledge and experience from my tutors.”

Employable edge

In order to gain a competitive edge whilst at university, Heather completed a management placement at Amazon.

“I worked as an operations intern during my placement, which allowed me to develop internal processes, utilise diverse metrics and shadow supervisors. I’ve also been lucky enough to work as an Intern Area Manager with Amazon, which is closely aligned with my future career ambitions. As part of this, I assisted with the management of two sites.

“This placement has been a pivotal point in my career development. Not only have my coworkers been incredibly friendly, but I’ve learnt how to work effectively in a fast-paced environment. As a result, I’ve been able to use my experience to support my studies.”

Crafting a career

Heather’s admirable work ethic was recognised at Amazon, resulting in her being offered a permanent position as an area manager.

“The knowledge and skills I had gained through my degree put me in good stead for the role. My placement allowed me to demonstrate my passion for management, which was seen by my manager. 

“I am responsible for 60 members of staff in my new role, which involves collaboration with support teams such as safety, engineering, loss prevention, quality assurance and human resources. I’ll be running the day-to-day operations of the site, and it will be my job to support, mentor and motivate employees.”

Passion to progress

“I’m looking forward to spending more time getting to know my team and working my way up the management ladder. My rich experience with University Centre Leeds has been the building blocks for my career; I am now hoping to study a Masters in Leadership and Management in September.”