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Leeds Trinity student and father-of-one graduates with start-up business success

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A Leeds Trinity University mature student is graduating today with a degree in Accounting and Business having started his own bookkeeping business while studying.

Male graduate stands in front of flower wall wearing graduation cap and gown.

Mark Ponsford, 54, founded Back 2 Books Financial Services Ltd and became a member of the International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB) alongside his studies in his second year of university, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mark, from Bradford, is married with a daughter and chose Leeds Trinity University after attending an Open Day and being welcomed as a 'name not a number', an inclusive approach which allowed him to prosper academically.  Utilising the knowledge and experience gained from his course, Mark set up his bookkeeping business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fuelled by a passion to help other small businesses succeed, he now intends to focus on building his new business after graduation with the skills he has developed, as well as working part-time in the accounts department at the Volkswagen van centre in Cleckheaton.

He is also considering extending his education at Leeds Trinity in the future by applying for the new postgraduate LLM Law course, after completing a law module in his Accounting and Business degree.

Mark said: “I knew what I was going for when I started my course as I was the owner of a same day courier company and wanted to move into the accounting side. I have knowledge of running a company and gaining customers so running a bookkeeping/accounting practice feels like a logical step.

“This degree and my registration with IAB has opened up opportunities within this career as I have already gained employment within a large company. However, my law module has made me consider moving into this field.

“I have enjoyed the whole journey from start to finish – the staff, the students, even the lectures. During the second year when lockdown happened, it was amazing how quickly the University adapted and the online lectures were as fun and professional as the on-campus ones, even though it was great to get back onto campus again for the final year.

“The best advice I could give is not to leave going to university as long as I did, but if you have, then still go for it as it is never too late and an experience you will love. Leeds Trinity University treats you as an equal and not bums on seats. It demonstrates the true meaning of diversity.”

Andrew Gilliland, Senior Lecturer in Business at Leeds Trinity University, said: “From the very first time I met Mark at an Open Day, I was convinced that he had the ambition, drive and commitment to successfully graduate in Accounting, and I am immensely proud of both what Mark has achieved and the way in which he has worked with the subject team to fulfil his potential.”

Leeds Trinity University recently achieved an overall student satisfaction score of 80% in the National Student Survey (NSS) 2022 results, making it joint top in Yorkshire and the Humber and joint 25th in the UK for this measure.

The NSS 2022 results follow the recent publication of the Higher Education Statistics Agency’s Graduate Outcomes survey. This places Leeds Trinity University top in Yorkshire for employability, and 15th in the UK, with 97% of its graduates in employment or further study within 15 months of finishing their studies.

Find out more about the Accounting and Business course on the Leeds Trinity University website.