Patricia Kelly

Patricia Kelly

Patricia Kelly

Bachelor of Business (Honours)

Patricia Kelly built her career in the financial services sector, spending 16 years working for leading financial institutions in various roles including Branch Manager at Ulster Bank. In 2021, Ulster Bank took the decision to exit the Irish market, leaving staff with the difficult prospect of having to re-enter the jobs market. For Patricia, this was the catalyst for a life changing journey into higher education.

As a mother of four children under the age of 6, Patricia recognised that whilst she had dedicated her time to further her professional career, she hadn’t the formal qualifications that many employers sought from candidates in the competitive jobs market.

Supported by her employer, Ulster Bank, Patricia worked with the Donegal Education and Training Board (ETB) to complete their Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) programme. The programme enabled Patricia to align her professional experience to learning outcomes of Level 7 degree programmes, thereby reaching the entry requirements needed to progress on to a Level 8 Honours degree course.

For Patricia, the two-year part-time Bachelor of Business at ATU Donegal offered flexibility, accreditation and supports needed to fulfil her ambition of completing an honours degree programme.

“With a young family and working full-time, I recognised that in order to succeed, I needed to put supports in place to reach my goals. My employer supported with funding and study leave. I also had work colleagues who also chose the course at the same time. My family that were a vital part in providing support and encouragement.  This support network was extremely valuable, helping to stay motivated and on-track throughout the academic year.”

Time management was a critical skill, as windows of opportunity to complete assignments were precious and often meant sacrificing time with family. The shared learning experience with fellow students from other professional backgrounds added to the richness of the course, helping gain an understanding of challenges encountered in other sectors and disciplines.

“I am now two years into the programme and in the process of completing my dissertation which reflects on the journey I have been on. It is entitled ‘Exploring Personal development plans for retail banking staff in a downsizing banking industry in Ireland’ leaning into the knowledge I have gained in my personal experience. I am proud of what I have achieved to date and every time I get results from assignments, it helps to grow my confidence and I believe I am a better person following this experience”

Patricia has secured a new role as Senior Servicing Specialist with PGIM Ireland. “I have no doubt that my decision to pursue a degree helped. My journey into higher education showed my ability to adapt to change and demonstrated a willingness to learn new skills. These traits are attractive to employers who are continuously navigating rapidly changing global markets”

When Patricia reflects on all the juggling needed to work full-time, attend on-campus lectures on Monday evenings, and online lectures on Wednesday evenings, she points to her family as key motivators. Her children are looking forward to getting their kitchen table back, while also being very proud of what their mum and all she has achieved.


Learn more about Bachelor of Business (Honours)