Two degrees of success
Released: Monday 16th July 2012 at 11:14
When successful businessman Paul Martin decided he wanted a change in career he, like many people, decided to go to university and retrain. But unlike most people Paul decided his best move was to study for two degrees at the same time.
On Monday July 10, and Friday July 13, Paul, 43, walked onto stage to pick up both of his degrees from the University of Sunderland’s Chancellor Steve Cram. The former athlete could have been forgiven for doing a double take when he shook hands with the graduate and presented him first with his BA in Counselling and then with his PGCE in Education and Training, but to Paul it seemed like a completely logical decision.
Paul was working in the recruitment and HR consultancy sector in Darlington when he began thinking about a career change. “I wasn’t entirely happy with my professional life,” he admits. “I was successful, but it just wasn’t making me happy anymore.”
Paul had always been fascinated by psychology, and decided to sign up for a basic 15 week counselling course at Darlington College whilst he was still working. “I thought if I didn’t like it I could just pull out and I hadn’t really lost anything,” Paul said, “But I loved it, and I never really looked back from there.”
Paul completed the course and then went on to study a Foundation Degree in Counselling, run through Bishop Auckland College by the University of Sunderland. He then had the choice to go to study for a full degree at Sunderland. At this point he was all set to follow a normal degree route, but fate took a hand.
“I finished my Foundation Degree and to my surprise the tutors at Bishop Auckland College offered me a teaching placement with pay,” says Paul. “A practising counsellor tends not to work with clients for much more than 20 hours a week, because of the intense nature of the job. It seemed a good plan to have something to run alongside the counselling, and teaching seemed like the right choice.”
Paul began his teaching degree in September 2010, and his counselling degree in January 2011, and successfully completed both this year. “It has been a very hard slog,” he admits, “I’d never advise anyone to do two courses at the same time.”
Now Paul is continuing to work as a counsellor and a teacher, but his academic ambitions haven’t quite peaked yet. He is planning to study for a Masters Degree … but is he planning any further study at the same time?
“Definitely, definitely not!” Paul says.