Steve Bennett

After a career working for the Ministry of Justice, Steve Bennett decided it was time to branch out on his own.

So he took early retirement and is now embarking on a new journey with his own business, www.freelancetrainercoach.com, as a professional trainer and coach,

The 56-year-old was heavily involved in the education and training of prison staff and decided to put his experience to good use by completing an MSc Educational Management and Leadership course at the University of Worcester.

“I chose this particular course because it dovetailed with the PG Certificate in Mentoring and Coaching that I also studied at Worcester,” he said.

“As a mature student I had some initial concerns about committing to an academic course at this level. I do not have a first degree but soon realised that my life and career experiences were fertile ground for material that contributed to the content of the MSc research project and were instrumental in successful completion of the course.”

Even though he was confident about undertaking a postgraduate qualification, Steve was less sure about writing a 20,000 word independent study.

“Although it was a daunting prospect, my tutor Sean reassured me that I had two years to complete it,” Steve said. “In effect he broke it down to manageable chunks. And when I thought of it like that it didn’t seem so bad.”

In fact, Steve embraced dissertation writing and enjoyed the various twists and turns the journey took him on and said he could not speak highly enough about the University’s Writer in Residence Helena Attlee, who supported him in the final stages.

“But it was like looking after a new baby – it demanded all of my attention,” he recalls. “I was unable to put it down.”

Steve is already reaping the benefits of postgraduate study. “As well as gaining a much deeper knowledge of my subject area, I feel I now have a real clarity of vision. It has been a very worthwhile experience.”

He added: “I established my own training and coaching business in September this year after retiring in April. I decided that I would I use this as an opportunity to share my skills, experience and qualifications in the freelance market rather than pursue a sedentary life.”