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Georgia O'Neill

Level 5 Business Management

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Georgia O'Neill

Georgia studies Business Management at Newcastle College University Centre. She Stepped Up to a degree after studying at Newcastle College. Find out what she has to say about her time learning with us.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself, your background, etc.?

I did my Level 3 BTEC course at Newcastle College, so I was here for 2 years before I started my degree. I work part-time at EE and I’ve got a small beauty business that I run, mainly in eyelash extensions and eyebrow work, but I’m also qualified in spray tans. I found a gap in the market for people wanting treatments from home, so I thought I’d set up a business and learn some new skills in the process.

Why did you choose to step up to a degree at Newcastle College University Centre?

I was familiar with the environment. The support networks on the Level 3 course were really good and the smaller groups and class sizes appealed to me more because we got more personal tuition and could ask more questions, rather than going to a lecture theatre with 400 other students where the lecturer would have less time to answer your questions. I felt I would be able to get more from that situation.

What was it about this course that made you want to progress onto a degree at Newcastle College University Centre?

I was eligible for a bursary, so that might have had something to do with it! Honestly, my course lecturers took time to talk to me before I applied for the course, so they convinced me to apply for a degree here. As I mentioned, the smaller groups also helped. The course content is also quite broad and covers a range of areas, so I had the opportunity to explore lots of different areas to figure out my specialism.

What benefits do you think there are in choosing to stay on to study at Newcastle College University Centre?

The bursary, being in a familiar environment, the smaller group classes so it’s far easier to ask questions and get extra support. The facilities and teaching quality are also very good.

What are the facilities like at the University Centre for your course and as a student?

Really good! There are lots of resources available. The library is spot-on, and lecturers and tutors give everyone a clear reading list to improve their knowledge, which we can either access online or physically. The course has just opened a new common room in Trevelyan, which comes equipped with computers and provides a quiet space to work.

What do you enjoy the most about your degree?

The opportunities that can come from it, including the many chances to network. For example, we attended an enterprise session that proposed a new entrepreneurial course, which involved a taster session and the chance to provide feedback to its creators. They also gave out their business cards to help us communicate with future contacts, so it’s all pretty positive! On top of that, we had a visit from the financial manager of wealth at Barclay’s bank, who offered us mentoring, which opens up lots of new opportunities professionally. This range of experiences and contacts is something I think is unique to the course here.

What inspires you?

My manager at work is a big inspiration to me, because she really takes her time to care about staff needs, wants and hopes for progression. My tutors are also quite inspirational, since their outlook on life is very encouraging and any conversations I have with them leave me motivated by the end. I’m also inspired by self-made businesspeople, since I admire their drive and dedication to self-improvement.

Tell us about how you have worked with industry whilst studying your degree (i.e. talks / live briefs / projects).

We have a week in industry where people from all different careers come together to discuss how their degrees prepared them for their current roles. That was really insightful for me, since I talk about my own beauty business. I’ve also become aware of the importance of team building excursions in businesses, such as escape rooms to help with leadership and problem solving. Even within the University Centre, when they first opened the Trevelyan common room, students from the Chef's Academy put on a buffet so it was interesting to see how different departments can be made stronger by communicating clearly and working together.

How do you think learning from industry experienced tutors has benefitted you?

Our tutors and lecturers all have significant industry experience, which isn’t just helpful but also really inspiring in its own right! For example, one of our lecturers has founded three businesses, sold them and remains an active participant in the industry, which shows they have taken risks to get rewards, but more importantly, it tells us how they responded when their plans fell through. I respect my lecturers a lot because of this level of experience.

How would you describe the staff at the University Centre?

Absolutely lovely. They’re so friendly and active within their roles, accepting student feedback and going out of their way to see how we’re progressing, as well as ensuring any issues we have are dealt with straight away.

Have you overcome any challenges either before or whilst studying your degree?

I was a carer for a close relative who died recently. I considered dropping out of my course, but my tutors, peers, and support staff were absolutely fantastic, incredibly understanding and caring. They helped me to apply for mitigation while I took time to grieve. My tutor in particular was very hands-on, giving me lots of personal support both academically and emotionally.

What kinds of support have you received during your studies?

We all have Learning Enhancement Coaches, whom we can book for one-to-one tutorial sessions to answer any questions. It’s reached the point for me where my lecturers feel like my friends, as they are very caring and accommodating and they always try to help me out in whatever way they can.

What has been the highlight of your time studying at Newcastle College University Centre?

Definitely mentoring and networking. I’ve been able to meet people in impressive industry roles and careers, so I was able to gain insights from their career paths. Personally, the enterprise session was also extremely useful, since it helped me to clarify goals for my business and the most effective methods I could use.

What’s Newcastle like as a student city, in your experience?

Amazing. The nights out in the city centre are notoriously great, but even the convenience of the city centre being a ten-minute walk away from Newcastle College University Centre’s central campus, or the thirty-minute trip on public transport to the beach, is fantastic. I really love Newcastle, everyone is known for being so friendly and welcoming, regardless of where you come from or your walk of life.

In what ways do you think your degree at Newcastle College University Centre has prepared you for employment?

Studying here has opened my eyes to the employment opportunities available to me and helped me decide my future specialisms. I’ve also learnt life skills, like academic writing or effective financial management. I’ve also become more confident about going out and looking for jobs since I know I have the skills and experience to support my applications thanks to my time at Newcastle College University Centre.

What are your plans after you graduate?

I am currently progressing in my current job role, so I would like to see where that could take me – hopefully to get some additional experience as a team leader. I’d also love to take my own business further, so I’m looking forward to exploring that possibility. In the long term, I’d be interested in moving into more of a finance role.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about Steppin’ Up to a degree at Newcastle College University Centre

Don’t discourage yourself! Understand how you learn best and choose courses and teaching styles that cater to your preferences. For example, do you learn best through listening to lectures and working independently, or do you need more one-to-one support? Evaluate what you want and go after it.

Describe your student experience in three words.

Inspiring. Encouraging. Motivating.

What are your top 5 tips for Steppin’ Up at Newcastle College?

See if you’re eligible for a bursary

Remember there’s a bar on campus – there are great places to let off some steam!

Know that there’s support networks available for you, and that there are people you can reach out to here

Understand and make the most of the resources available to you

Try the quiche in Trevelyan Refectory – it’s gorgeous!