I started the course as I wanted to change my career to something that would suit my family and that I could work in right up to retirement ( I used to work in hospitality). My original plan was to be a self employed bookkeeper but while doing the course I thought it best for me to get practical experience working with a company. I got an interview for a job advertised at 16 hours a week and got it. Took a massive pay drop (moved from doing about 30 hours over 2 days in the restaurant at £8.00 plus tips to 16 hours at £8.50 with no tips, I am in Glasgow) . Obviuosly that involved a difficult conversation with my husband and lots of sums to see if it would work and it was hard initially but I am now doing more hours and am working with a comany that has offices all over the world so I'm getting experience with foreign exchange, inter company transfers plus purchase and sales ledger. It also fits in really well with my family plus I have been moved on to salary and given a small pay rise.
You really just have to work out what you want to do and how its going to fit in with your life. Qualifications will go some way to getting you into an organisation if that the route you want to take but the course is totally different to real life finance ( I find ) but if you're willing to learn and have a good attitude that will take you further.