Melanie Merchant


Why did you choose to come to Petroc?
I had already attempted to complete this course through distance learning as I thought this would be the most suitable way for me to study being a mature student, parent and working full time. I thought it was the best way to achieve the balance of work, home life and studying. However, when distance learning didn’t work for me, too many distractions at home, too many reasons to not sit down and study, I knew I needed a classroom environment. I chose Petroc as I had studied there previously (a long time ago!) and enjoyed my time then and was successful in achieving the qualification I was studying at the time. I had also known other mature students who had studied at Petroc either one day a week or through an evening course and the feedback was always positive.

And what made you pick this particular course?
Bookkeeping and finance roles have made up the majority of my CV for many years, however I felt that I wanted to progress my career and I was aware that this qualification was mentioned in several job adverts for roles that had interested me. I wanted to gain this qualification so that alongside my experience in the workplace, this would make me a stronger candidate in the job market for the roles I wanted to pursue.

What have been highlights so far?
I couldn’t recommend a classroom environment for part time study high enough. Yes, it meant one day a week off work and for me having to do a two hour round trip come rain or shine! But the advantages of being with a group of people, all working towards a common goal and being able to support each other was definitely worth it. When you are in a classroom environment, I think you achieve a greater understanding of the subject as you are able to listen to those around you, have constant interaction and contribute your understanding to the class. Being taught face to face by a lecturer and being able to talk openly, I felt enhanced my understanding of the syllabus. Different students in the class were able to apply the topics we were taught to their own individual circumstances, which I think added depth to our understanding and this would not have been experienced if I had undertaken this course through distance learning.

What do you most enjoy about studying at Petroc?
I have to say the support given by my lecturer was second to none. Even outside of our college day, the support was always there. All the resources I needed were provided, I always had plenty of material to practice the topics being taught. Study time for me often fell during the evenings and weekends and my lecturer was just an email away from answering any questions, showing great support and encouragement, even through the trickier times such as the lead up to exams and during lockdown. I felt that our lecturer appreciated that we all had roles to fulfil outside of being a student as well!

Our student group changed somewhat with each level, but I made some great friends along the way. We came from different job roles and had different goals to achieve and were on different paths but came together with our enthusiasm for accounting, desire to learn and improve our skill set. The atmosphere in the classroom was great!

Did you undertake any work experience throughout your studies?
I didn’t undertake any work experience throughout my studies, but I did change jobs part way through so was working in an accountancy practice when I began Level 4, this job change was made possible by my achievement already in gaining Distinctions at Level 2 and Level 3.

What do you plan to do when you leave Petroc?
I am currently working within an accountancy practice so I have plenty of scope to utilise my qualifications within this role. Through my improved knowledge from completing this course, I am also interested in pursuing a career in management accounting. I now have a greater awareness of my strengths and how they can apply to this area of accounting.

What’s the long-term plan?
I would like to continue to add to my qualifications and am interested in management accounting and completing the CIMA (or similar) qualification next.

Any advice for someone thinking of choosing the same course as you?
Go for it! I thoroughly enjoyed the 3 years and it went by so fast! It was easier than I thought to study again after a long time away from the classroom and it’s fantastic to have the certificates now to support my experience in the workplace. I didn’t think I would ever achieve 3 distinctions, in the beginning I wasn’t even sure if I would complete all 3 levels, however, for me it was made possible with the combination of commitment from myself and the support and quality of teaching from Petroc. I left Petroc with more confidence in myself and my abilities, I learnt so much more than just the course content, alongside this came an increased level of motivation for the future and where I want it to take me.


AAT Level 2, AAT Level 3 & AAT Level 4

quote (2)

“I left Petroc with more confidence in myself and my abilities, I learnt so much more than just the course content, alongside this came an increased level of motivation for the future and where I want it to take me.”