Former sales staff won role after studying for a degree in spare time.
Catherine Harrington has been promoted to head office at Peter Jackson Jewellers after juggling studying for a degree with a full-time job and becoming a mother.
Harrington, who is now 33, started working as a Saturday sales assistant while she was at school and joined the store’s team full time when leaving school. Her career has now moved on to the next level within the business after she made the decision to study for Upper Second Class BA (Hons) Education Studies degree at University Centre at Blackburn College (UCBC) with the support of her employer.
She said: "I left school and was really shy and went straight to work at Peter Jackson’s full-time as I was already working on Saturdays there. However, it niggled me that I had never continued my education as a lot of my friends had a degree and I always felt I was capable.
"I never thought higher education would be accessible to me as I had got used to having a wage. Then one day my partner, who was at UCBC, told me to have a look at the courses and I saw one I wanted to do and it fit in perfectly. I spoke to Peter Jackson and he knew it was something I had always wanted to do. He even wrote me a reference."
Harrington studied for her degree one day a week whilst working five days a week at Peter Jackson, which recently ran a stall at the UCBC Freshers’ Fair. Then in the second year of her studies she fell pregnant and so ended up juggling work, study and a new baby.
She said: "It wasn’t planned but I wouldn’t change anything and all the staff were really supportive, as I was shattered. I had [my daughter] Isabel and so I was juggling work, a baby and my university course but I managed.
“My qualification has helped me do this [new job at Peter Jackson] even though it is an Education degree as it has helped me to move up to a different role.”
Peter Jackson has stores in Preston, Blackburn, Southport, Carlisle and Bury.