Matthew Pritchard

Economics BA (Hons)

University initially didn’t feel like an option for Matthew, as none of his immediate family had gone to university. But after encouragement from a teacher and his late grandparents, he decided to study Economics, and took advantage of opportunities to develop his confidence and skills. After studying at BCU, the Grow Your Own graduate scheme gave him not only his first graduate job, but his career in the Awarding Body for the Built Environment. 

“University was never really on my radar when I left school. My grandparents were academics, but unfortunately, were only around to encourage me during my primary education. Other than them, no one in my immediate family had gone to university which is why I always had it in my mind that I needed ‘real-world’ experience.

I’d also struggled with my mental health during Sixth Form, meaning I hadn’t got the results I’d wanted, which further solidified to me that university wasn’t in my future.

It wasn’t until I tried multiple jobs in different industries, still not knowing what I wanted to do, that I knew I needed to make a change. The final straw came when I was made redundant from an apprenticeship in something I wasn’t even interested in. Getting your foot in the door when you aren’t sure what you want to do was seemingly impossible to me. So, thanks to the encouragement of my late grandparents and my Economics teacher at school, I decided to study Economics at BCU.

My university experience was thoroughly enjoyable and eye-opening. I made the decision to commute to university and work part-time alongside my studies, which meant that I couldn’t take full advantage of the multitude of experiences and opportunities BCU offered.

However, I tried to gain as much out of my university experience as possible to become more confident in myself and my abilities. BCU helped facilitate this by presenting me with experiences that allowed me to think, act and work independently and gain transferrable skills that I continue to use every day.

My degree helped me get to where I am today as I was able to take advantage of BCU’s Grow Your Own (GYO) graduate scheme which provides career opportunities solely to BCU graduates. I would encourage all BCU students, at any point in their university experience, to look into GYO and keep it in mind when they graduate.

Nowadays, I’m a Qualifications Administrative Officer at the Awarding Body for the Built Environment (ABBE), a subsidiary of BCU. I started the role in July 2023. When I saw the opportunity on BCU’s vacancies, I had no idea that a year down the line, I would be responsible for the design and development of qualifications and examinations in the Built Environment.

A typical workday involves me reviewing and developing qualifications that can be taken nationally or bespoke through one of our centres. I am also responsible for liaising with new centres who come to us with ideas and materials for qualifications that they would like to develop in collaboration with us, using both their specialist input and our knowledge of qualifications and assessments to develop robust qualifications in the Built Environment sector.

My biggest piece of advice to current students and fellow graduates would be to look through BCU vacancies for any offerings through the Grow Your Own Graduate Scheme. I understand that I was very lucky to have found not just a job, but a career, so quickly after graduating. Lois and Rhian in the GYO team have been exceptionally helpful and friendly in helping me adjust to working within BCU and the team at ABBE are amazing.

To me, I AM BCU is a personification of the knowledge and values you gain from studying at, working for and just being on campus at BCU. Having gone from studying at, to working for the university, there's something about the inclusion, support and general atmosphere that motivated me to want to continue my time here.”