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After working as a chartered surveyor for 40 years, Robert Rowlands finally decided to explore his interest in interior architecture and design by studying towards a qualification. As managing director of his own property development business, a full-time, attendance-based degree was never an option.

He began looking for courses that would allow him to study without impacting significantly on his busy working life and came across a part-time BA (Hons) in Interior Architecture and Design delivered 100% online with IDI. He soon realised it was the opportunity he was looking for:

“I was impressed by the professionalism of the organisation and the fact they offered an honours degree in association with the University of Hertfordshire.”

Property has been a huge part of Robert’s life since he left school. He was offered a place to study law at university but turned it down, preferring instead to find his way in the world of work:

“I almost fell into the property world and generally have no regrets in my choice as it has given me a good living and challenged me throughout the years.”

Robert worked his way up and now runs his own successful chartered surveyor firm with offices in London and Nottingham. Despite enjoying the management side of the property market, he has always been curious about the design side of the industry. His curiosity recently got the better of him and he decided to do something about it:

“I came to IDI to explore my deep interest in interior design and architecture in general. As a mature student I felt that now was the time in my life and career to pursue this interest seriously and hopefully obtain training to allow me to express my design thoughts in a disciplined and effective manner.”

Robert was initially concerned about how going back to university would challenge him as a mature student and with all the other commitments in his life:

“The main challenge was to be fully honest with myself as to whether at 58 I was capable of undertaking education at this level and also whether, bearing in mind my business interests, I could devote the necessary time to complete the studies.”

After taking time to settle into the coursework he is now confident that IDI was the right option:

“In the early stages it was quite difficult but as time has progressed I have developed a routine which together with greater understanding of the requirements has meant that by the end of the semester I felt reasonably in control of the process.

“The learning environment is good and I have no doubt that this is the way forward in my case.”