“Studying online has allowed me to achieve my ambitions…”

Current Online Masters of Public Administration student, Sharon Clayton, shares her perspective: why she chose to study a masters degree online at the University of Birmingham and how this programme is helping her career move forward.

“My career in local government began following the birth of my one and only son when I chanced upon a part-time job as an Assistant Clerk to a town council. Shortly after, I was promoted to become a part-time Clerk and was offered the exciting opportunity to attend university and further my knowledge with a BA (Hons) Local Policy (in order to become a qualified clerk).

I am presently a full-time Town Clerk to Much Wenlock in Shropshire, a position I have held since May 2010. As the Head of Paid Service I support councillors in the provision of community leadership and am responsible for the effective management of the Council’s activities, its financial resources and the implementation of its policies and decisions. I provide advice and guidance on major policy options to ensure efficient service delivery.

My enthusiasm for personal development has enabled me to keep up-to-date with the many changes in government legislation and policy and has ensured that I am able to apply my professional skills appropriately. I am particularly au fait with the powers and duties of local councils and have a keen interest in community development.

The major challenges I am facing in my current role include the delivery and maintenance of public services – as there are fewer resources available: I am constantly helping to steer change management.

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I applied to study an Online Masters of Public Administration in the hopes that it will introduce me to more innovative ways of thinking supported by Module Convenors who are not only academics but also have experience of working in the public sector.

This degree is helping me to undertake my present role in a more professional manner and will give me a better understanding of how public services can and should be delivered. Being in full-time employment, I did not have the time to study a traditional campus-based course. Studying online gives me an opportunity to achieve my ambition.

This course has many advantages - including being able to study from home, at times suitable for me and with all the readings for each lesson available online. I also have the opportunity to interact with fellow ‘classmates’ via discussion forums and online webinars.

I can thoroughly recommend this course to anyone aspiring to improve their working knowledge and their career opportunities whether in the public or private sector.”

If you have a question for Sharon, please feel free to leave a comment on this post in the section below. Alternatively, it you would like to learn more about our Online Masters of Public Administration and details on how to apply, please fill out the request for information form or contact a member of our admissions team on the number below. We look forward to hearing from you.