Simon Moody, 45, is an enthusiastic champion for the OU, having gained diplomas in European Humanities and Geography, a BA (hons) in History and Social Sciences and this year he hopes to finish his MA in Applied Linguistics.
“I dropped out of a comprehensive in the early 80s,” said Simon. “It was a very unhappy experience and I just had a rag bag of CSEs in woodwork and biology.
“The idea of going back to Uni at 28, during the Britpop summer of ’95, did have some appeal to me – but the idea of living on baked beans in baggy jumpers with no disposable income soon waned.”
After seeing general advertisements for the Open University, Simon signed up in 1995, and has been studying on and off with them ever since.
“When I saw the OU materials I was just so impressed, they really are first rate,” he said. “In my view the OU is the only choice for a mature student. And paying in monthly instalments is such a bonus for working people as it takes all the angst out of paying a lump sum.”
Simon works in commercial research and training, and firmly believes that a degree still retains respect.
“Vocational qualifications are coming back into vogue now, but a degree is still a great foundation and retains respect. Everyone needs a foot in the door sometimes, and graduate qualifications give you that.
“I’ve more than doubled my salary since 2000, and haven't been out of work in 22 years even though I’ve been made redundant three times. I have no doubt that my 'bouncebackability' is down to the OU.”
Simon says when he finishes his MA he’d love to study for a Phd: “I feel there are issues which I could genuinely contribute to but ultimately, thanks to the OU, I just love to study. I can’t see that ever changing.”
The Open University journey for Simon so far has, he says, been both hilarious and stressful.