The Salford student who was stuck at a crossroads upon graduating college and is now working in finance at Unilever

Categories: Salford Business School

Lloyd Townsend always knew he wanted to work in finance but, when the pandemic impacted his plans, he applied to the University of Salford Business School through clearing and within 10 days was moving into halls

Back in 2020 at the initial height of the pandemic, then 18-year-old Lloyd Townsend, who is originally from Coalville, Leicestershire, was unsure what his next step would be upon finishing college. He knew he wanted to pursue a career in finance and was initially considering an apprenticeship, but after exploring this route with no success he turned to the University of Salford Business School to apply through clearing.

It was late September, courses had already started and many of his friends had already gone off to university, one of whom was already at the University of Salford and was having a great time, so Lloyd applied through clearing and within 10 days was moving into the University’s Peel Park Quarter halls.

Lloyd, now 21 and in the third year of his BSc Accounting and Finance with Placement degree, will begin his fourth and final year this September after completing a one-year placement at global consumer goods company, Unilever. Lloyd is also on track to achieve a first-class degree.

Lloyd commented: “Like many others, the pandemic was an incredibly challenging time for me. The job market for college graduates pretty much dried up overnight and was non-existent. It was coming to the end of the summer and I had a change in circumstances, plus all of my friends were getting ready to go to university, so I thought why not apply through clearing.

“One of my best friends was already at Salford and was incredibly impressed, plus having a great time living in the city which really resonated with me. I was really late applying, it was September and the trimester had already started. But, after calling the clearing line and thanks to the huge level of support I received from the University, I was moving into halls less than two weeks later. I couldn’t have asked for an easier and more straightforward process – I literally just gave the University my A-level grades and shared a bit about myself, and I was sent a provisional offer shortly after.”

Lloyd opted for a sandwich course at the University, giving him an opportunity to complete a one-year placement which he managed to secure with Unilever, where he’s currently working as a Finance Business Partner. Lloyd’s role involves working with the company’s marketing team to provide financial analysis and results to support them, while helping manage P&Ls (profit and loss statements).

Lloyd continued: “The network I have been able to create both professionally and socially through my course and placement has been incredible. I now have industry connections nationwide, not only in Manchester and Salford, but also in London, Liverpool and Lancaster, amongst other places, which will be invaluable as I continue progressing into my career.

“Opting for the course option with a placement was definitely the right route for me. The course is great, comprising interesting modules that cover a range of different areas of the industry. My placement has also been a huge highlight, as I’ve been able to apply the learnings from my course to real practical experience. While I’m excited to get back to uni in September, I’ve also loved experiencing living in another new city.”

Geoffrey Evans, Lecturer in Accounting and Finance at Salford Business School, added: “Seeing Lloyd’s progression from enrolling with us to where he is today has been incredible. The impact his university experience has had on his confidence and communication skills has been truly inspirational, while witnessing first-hand his exceptional resilience on securing his placement after a number of applications and interviews has been remarkable.”

Lloyd concluded: “Prior to enrolling onto my course, I’d never been to Manchester, but I had always been intrigued by the city and had heard great things from friends. While my first year was a challenge, due to continued lockdowns, my second year and my experience since has made up for it. I’ve met some amazing friends and been able to experience Manchester and Salford in full, discovering the many great places to go out and socialise. Although, with Salford Quays on my doorstep and being in the midst of the Peel Park campus, there were definitely worse places to be in lockdown – Salford Quays is now one my favourite places in the world.

“While I made my decision to enroll at Salford in the heat of the moment, it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The support I’ve received from my Lecturers and other staff at the University has been second-to-none. From helping me to find the right accommodation for me, to support getting part-time work in industry alongside my studies, and the guidance on my placement applications, has been invaluable. My confidence has grown massively and the independence I’ve gained has been amazing. I’ve discovered so much about myself through my university experience and I would absolutely recommend the clearing route to anybody still undecided on what to do this September/post-college.”

Upon graduating in 2024, Lloyd is hoping to secure a three-year graduate scheme in finance, before qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants).

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