Lancaster University

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Postgraduate study will improve my business says entrepreneur

03/02/2012 00:00:00

​An awardwinning entrepreneur says that postgraduate study at Lancaster University will enhance her business which has a turnover of £250,000.

Sarah Goodall runs The Athena Programme, which delivers training and consultancy to organisations nationwide aimed at safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.

Her plans to study for a PhD will see her return to Lancaster University, where she studied social work at the Department of Applied Social Science from 1994 to 1997.

She said she was looking forward to returning to study after her career first as a social worker and company managing director.

“I can’t wait – I’m passionate about the subject and fuelled with excitement. My time at Lancaster was brilliant and I know how supportive the staff  are.  Lancaster has given me the best grounding that I could have and set me up for a very good career. I absolutely love studying and I can’t wait to challenge my brain.”  

Sarah will continue to run The Athena Programme while doing the full-time PhD, which will research how new technologies can be incorporated into the current children protection system.

“This PhD is very complementary to my business and will fundamentally affect practice so it’s an important part of my business strategy. My new research aims to find out any benefits so we can share these with the organisations that Athena works with.”

The Athena Programme was set up in 2007 and now has five employees and five training associates. Over 4,000 people have since been trained on safeguarding, which translates into around 40,000 children who have potentially benefited.  

Sarah’s success earned her the Business Start-up of the Year award at the North West Women in Business Awards and national recognition at the annual Extraordinary Women of the Year Awards 2011.

She has been awarded funding for her PhD from the Economic and Social Research Council’s North West Doctoral Training Centre, which is the largest centre in England for social science postgraduate training.

Sarah’s PhD will connect with a programme of research led by Professor Corinne May-Chahal, with Professor Awais Rashid from InfoLab21 focused on software engineering research for child protection and community safety. 

Professor May-Chahal said: “We are excited by the potential to broaden our research programme both by developing Sarah’s commitment to creativity and arts in safeguarding and also knowledge exchange with a range of employers across the country.”