Alumni Profile: Keeta Hopkins

Alumni Profile: Catching Up With Keeta


Are you interested in pursuing a career in business but not sure how to make the first step?  

Maybe you didn’t go to university at 18 and feel you missed your chance? 

That simply isn’t true!  

Here at University Centre Weston, you choose your journey! Our courses are built to help you achieve the goals YOU set. Interested in the full university experience, or want to study alongside working? any pathway is possible with UCW! 

To demonstrate the extensive opportunities at University Centre Weston, we sat down with Business Management and Sustainability alumni, Keeta, to talk about her experience. 

Keeta now works at UWE (University of the West of England) where she manages a team of 15 people as a Student Administration Team Leader. However, her journey wasn’t entirely straightforward! 

Keeta started off at Weston College where she studied Professional Cookery. After that, Keeta said she felt a little lost – unsure of exactly what career path she wanted to pursue. Instead of applying for university, Keeta decided to work for a while in a cookery role. She told us “At that point, I just didn’t know what I wanted to do, and it felt like the easiest route I could go down because I loved cooking at home – so I thought ‘why not go and do it as a job’.”  

She went on to say:  

“After a few years of doing that, I didn’t really enjoy it anymore. It became more of a chore. So, then I thought ‘oh I’ll go and do something in business.’ So, I got a job at North Somerset Council as a Business Administrator. They were in partnership with Weston College. So, I completed my Apprenticeship with them. It was really good because I was able to get a full wage but also have an afternoon a week to do my work. There was never an expectation to have to come onto campus, they wanted you to develop real-life skills, rather than being in a classroom 5 days a week.” 

We then asked Keeta some further questions about her journey

When I graduated, I applied for an administrative job at UWE. I didn’t really apply for it with the thought that I would be able to use the skills and knowledge I developed with my degree. It was more, I’ve graduated and thought ‘ok I’ve got a degree under my belt now’. It never crossed my mind that I would ever use anything I had learnt at uni in my work life. So, I was the Administrator for 3 years and then I got a promotion to an Administration Officer. In this role I started to manage people and that’s when I actually began incorporating what I learnt from my degree. I was able to kind of adapt how I would manage people based on knowledge from my time at UCW. I then got promoted again. This was a step up from managing 3 people to now managing 15 people. My degree definitely helped me to be able to be the manager I am now. The way the lecturers delivered the sessions with their personal experiences really helped to develop my skills
Really good! I think it really helped that we had a very small group of students. It wasn’t ever like a massive lecture hall with hundreds of students. That was another reason why I wanted to study here. I wanted a more personal approach to studying. I didn’t want to sit in a lecture hall and just take notes the whole time. Our tutors were always there to help and answer questions in a more intimate setting. I think you learn a lot more that way, rather than aimlessly following along, listening to someone go on and on, and reading through slides. That was never the case throughout my time at UCW. It was always kind of ‘this is what you’ve learnt, now go and put it into practice.’ I haven’t got a bad word to say about any of my tutors – they were all so supportive during and after graduating. As a cohort we’ve been made to feel important. Our tutors remember us and keep in touch – it makes us feel like we really made an impact! It’s a really nice feeling to think you’re not just thought of as a student or a number, but an actual person who has impacted the teacher’s experience as much as they’ve impacted yours.
Yeah! And I have done already! I always talk to people about my time studying at UCW – and say how good it was! Sometimes, intimate, and small is better than big, massive universities because you’re just getting that more personalised touch to your studies. This was always very reflected in people’s grades. Everyone in my year did really well! It just goes to show, if you’re in that kind of environment, you can do really well! I used to work with two other Clerical Assistants, and we have all done the same course, different years, at UCW. And we all loved it!
My best memory is from the first ever submission of coursework in my first year. Everyone was feeling so nervous because we didn’t know what to expect and it was a day where the lecturer would call us out of the classroom and gives us our grades. We then walked back into the room. It was our first ever submission and I got a first! I just remember walking back into the classroom and everyone cheering! Everyone was so happy for everyone. It wasn’t just because we got high grades, some people got slightly lower grades – and no one cared, everyone applauded each other and supported one another. That’s a memory that will always be there. Like I said before, in bigger class sizes you might not get that. It’s often more that you’ll just view your grades online and that’ll be it. You don’t necessarily get that celebratory moment of ‘yay, go us!’
You’re not going to know everything! It’s such a vast field. The majority of people pick business because it’s something you can go into that’s so wide and so broad that you can kind of venture off. I guess my advice is, even when you graduate, you’re not going to necessarily know where your journey is going to go. You could want to do a Masters, you could go straight to working! When I graduated X amount of years ago, I didn’t know that I wanted the do the job that I’m in now. I know people that have gone into Account Management or Project Management or transport etc. There’s so many different avenues. So it’s good to be open and focused. It’s three years of your life that you need to concentrate, and it could set up your whole life afterwards. Make sure you appreciate it and take advantage of the opportunities available at uni while you can!

Thank you so much Keeta for bestowing your valuable advice! 

If you’re interested in pursuing a similar journey to Keeta, take a look at our Business Management and Sustainability course here. 

To see what other business courses we offer here at UCW, click here.