Audio and transcript
OU study is a springboard for developing a range of skills to attract future employers, argues Ellen from the OU Careers Advisory Service.
Ellen (OU Careers Advisory Team): The skills that you develop from OU study are useful in a wide variety of different contexts. We know that 70% of our students are studying with us to develop their career or to change their career.
And there's a whole variety of skills that you can develop from studying with us, whatever subject you're studying and that includes motivation, initiative, being able to work by yourself and all of these these different skills are highly attractive to employers.
So we do know that there are lots of opportunities out there that OU students can look at once they've been studying with us.
It's really important to reflect on how your skills are developing as you're doing your OU study. Quite often students will very much underestimate what they have been developing as a result of their study. And once they do go through the process of thinking about what they've done and the different activities they've been involved in, it actually raises your motivation and your confidence in your abilities. That's a really important thing, when you're marketing yourself to employers. If an employer realises that you're the kind of person who is very self aware and who is able to look at your strengths and weaknesses and change and adapt as a result of doing that, then you'll be a very strong candidate when it comes to the labour market.
To develop the skills that employers might be interested in whilst you're doing your OU study, you have all kinds of different opportunities, whether you go to residential school, where you might be doing experiments, or actively working on projects with other students, maybe even doing presentations. All of those sorts of things will help you to develop valuable skills. But also when you're online talking within many of the forums that we have within the OU, with other students both informally and also as part of your course, you'll find that that does help to develop your skills. In addition to that, going along to tutorials and discussing topics with your tutor and with other students, will help to improve your communication skills.
Of course, all the skills that you develop when you're studying with the OU, will spill over into the rest of your life. So you may find that having gained confidence in developing these skills, that you develop additional outside interests or gather more confidence to try new things.
Actor Stephen McGann pinpoints the skills that inform his professional work.
Stephen: Later I did a course on artificial intelligence which touched upon neurons touched upon the brain and how we do literally re-wire our brain when we learn, and so there was this side of it. When I go even as an actor I've worked since the learning of the learning of lines, the turning up on time, I know it sounds trivial but the self-motivation, the workload, the way I can deconstruct a character, how I can argue from a particular position, these are all things which in an arts environment, a humanities environment, in a discursive environment are always very useful.