Rowenna Valintine, 43 from Tamworth, worked as a hairdresser for nine years before looking for new opportunities in the construction industry.
Now on course for her first graduation ceremony, Rowenna has completed a Higher Degree Apprenticeship in Construction Management at the University of Wolverhampton. Rowenna switched careers at aged 26 and started working in the property and construction industry, In 2014, Rowenna took up a position with Wates Construction in their Living Space division.
The Foundation degree in Built Environment, which has been developed with input from leading businesses including EDF and Wolverhampton Homes, provides a stepping stone towards a full Bachelor of Science qualification using the apprenticeship route.
I found that the repetitive cycle of hairdressing – doing the same thing from one day to the next – wasn’t really challenging me so I looked for a role where I could stretch myself more – Rowenna Valintine
She said: “Making the switch from hairdressing to construction was a great choice for me. I found that the repetitive cycle of hairdressing – doing the same thing from one day to the next – wasn’t really challenging me so I looked for a role where I could stretch myself more.”
Working for one of the UK’s leading providers of planned and responsive maintenance services in the social housing sector, maintaining over 500,000 homes nationwide every year, Rowenna found that the communication skills she had learned as a hairdresser helped her in her new role as Customer Care/Senior Tenant Liaison Officer.
Talking about her apprenticeship experience, she said: “It was actually quite daunting for me to go back into the classroom after all these years but I found that I quickly tapped into the learning style and studying really helped me to look at things differently – especially when I went back into the workplace.
“I was able to apply some of my learning to work situations and I was also passing on my knowledge to colleagues.”
On the course, which was funded by Wates Construction as part of their apprenticeship programme, Rowenna spent one and a half days at University a week for two years whilst working full-time – balancing her work and family life.