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“I adore my position as a primary school teacher. I love how every day is completely different.” 

- Sonia Swankie, BA (Hons) Financial Services Management (Banking Pathway) 2009 

Sonia Swankie 

Alumnus Sonia Swankie found her true calling as a primary school teacher while she navigated a successful career in the banking industry.  

When Sonia left school, she didn’t know what she wanted to do and didn’t feel ready to pursue further study. She began working at Clydesdale Bank where her managers quickly identified her talent and potential. She was given the opportunity to study toward her Chartered Institute of Bankers qualifications and examinations, which gained her credit toward her degree via the Financial Services Management (Banking Pathway) that was offered at the time.  

Sonia’s degree aided her in her successful 14-year career at Clydesdale Bank, but being back in a learning environment made her realise that her true passion was in the classroom. She made the decision to get her PGDE and become a primary school teacher. Reflecting on this decision, Sonia said:  

“The course was distance learning, which enabled me to keep working while studying. Otherwise I would not have been able to afford to proceed with a young family and mortgage! Changing career and forsaking financial security was a big risk, but I’m so thankful that I did it!"

Teaching is Sonia’s true passion. She believes the interpersonal, leadership and organisational skills she gained in her previous career have only benefited her in becoming a better teacher. She feels fulfilled and rewarded by being a part of children’s journeys and supporting them academically, emotionally and socially.  

Sonia has this to say about the rewards of her new career: 

“There is so much job satisfaction from watching children grow and learn and knowing you’re a positive influence in their lives... Not all children receive the best start in life, and I entered the profession to make a real difference to each and every one of their lives. It's wonderful going to work every day knowing the difference you are making, inspiring the next generation.” 

Sonia took a risk by changing careers and pursuing a postgraduate degree. But it paid off and she’s making a difference by doing what she loves every day - and that is what a truly successful career looks like.

Published March 2020

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