Michelle Hammerton: Life Changing Learning

Last week, our IAB student, Michelle Hammerton, was named Student of the Year at the annual IAB Awards. Following her success at the awards, we caught up with Michelle to find out more about her inspiring journey…

10 years ago, I found out I had Ovarian Cancer. I was working at HMRC at the time and they were very supportive. I also had a new man in my life who could have easily walked away, but instead he stayed and cared for me.
During that time, I had to have a full hysterectomy and then chemotherapy. This meant I had a lot of time on my hands, so I had the opportunity to do a lot of thinking.
I began to think hard about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I wasn’t able to have children and I wasn’t in a position to adopt, so I wanted to focus on my career. After some thought, I decided that wanted to learn more about payroll, but at the time my situation wouldn’t allow me to do anything about it.

Getting back on my feet

A year or so later I was cancer and treatment free. Once I was back on my feet, I decided to go for it and explore payroll further, thankfully with the full support of my partner. He’s the kind of guy who struggles to decide what he wants for dinner, but if I tell him I want to do or learn something new, then he will always tell me to go for it.
When I started looking into payroll courses, I came across Open Study College and they seemed ideal. They even offered a payment plan, so I didn’t have to worry about paying for the course all at once.
My partner was very supportive, so I applied for the course. During my course I realised I enjoyed payroll and wanted to make a career out of it. The HMRC office I was working at was also due to close in a few years’ time. My partner lived a few miles away and wanted to be nearer, so my new career seemed to make perfect sense for us.

Changing my career

I successfully passed my course and managed to find a temporary job to help me get some experience. I was offered a permanent position at Enham Trust and I knew straight away that I had made the right career change.
My manager retired after two years, and I was asked if I would stand in until they found a replacement. Of course, I jumped at the chance! The temporary position soon turned permanent, and I have been a manager at Enham Trust for 3 years. I even enrolled two of my staff onto the payroll course with Open Study College. I am very pleased to say they both passed! One of them was even promoted to Senior Payroll Officer shortly after completing her studies.
Part of my duties as Payroll Manager is doing my monthly accounts. I’m very curious and always like to know the ins and outs of things I’m working on. I discovered that I had developed a love of numbers, so I had the idea of studying a bookkeeping course to improve my understanding.
As I had studied payroll with Open Study College previously, they were my first port of call. I managed to complete my level 1 course in just four months! I’m now halfway through my level 2 and once I have finished that, I will begin the level 3 course.

Future plans

My end goal is to have my own business offering payroll and bookkeeping services. However, after attending the awards last week, my inbox and phone has been buzzing nonstop with agencies trying to fill positions. Who knows where this will take me next!
I didn’t really bother at school, but I have learnt more out of school than I did in it!
I would say to anyone, regardless of how old (I’m 48!) or young you are, or even if didn’t do well at school, just go for it! Life is too short to sit around and wonder “what if?”
My motto is ‘There is no failure in trying, failure is giving up or not trying.’
Oh, and that supportive man? I ended up marrying him and he is still encouraging me every day to go for my dreams!
Thank you to Open Study College, you have changed my life!

If you're interested in finding out more about the courses Michelle has studied with us, you can find more information here:
IAB Level 1 Award in Bookkeeping and IAB Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping

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Sharnie Carter

Michelle Hammerton: Life Changing Learning