Declan Gane graduated from the OU in 2010 and says his degree is helping him change careers - from marketer to school teacher – as well as transforming his lifestyle. And not only does he have a new job, he’s also the author of a book offering top tips to children from sporting heroes.
Declan, now a father of three living in West London, signed up for a four year BSc Computing & Informatics course at Plymouth Polytechnic after sixth form but confesses to having “no burning desire to read computing” and was lured into the workplace after two years.
Many years later, having built up a career in the live events sector, he moved into a marketing role and took various Chartered Institute of Marketing exams and attended evening classes based at Thames Valley University in Ealing. And in 1998 he won a DTi Scholarship to attend an intensive marketing course at the IVEY Business School, Western University, London, Ontario – Canada’s equivalent of Harvard.
In 2007 he embarked on an OU degree “because I could”. He adds: “I could study as and when I had time to do so, balancing work and family life, and choose from a huge variety of subject areas that matched my broad areas of interest, and taking modules where one’s ability to cram for exams was not the measure of the learning.”
Declan’s OU studies – as well as seven years’ coaching mini rugby at Richmond FC – have led to a complete career change from marketing director to primary school teacher.
“My studies at the OU have impacted hugely on my career, in that I am in the midst of changing careers completely. My honours degree allowed me to join the Graduate Teachers Programme, a one year on-the-job re-training programme for mature students.
'It’s a total lifestyle change that would not have been open to me without an OU degree'
“So from jetting into and out of the world’s industrial fairgrounds, I am now strolling down the road to teach my class of seven and eight-year-olds the ins and outs of maths and English with a bit of mini rugby, ancient Egyptians, Last Night of the Proms, making magnets, blogging and a lot more thrown in too. It’s a total lifestyle change that would not have been open to me without an OU degree.”
As well as being in the midst of a career change, Declan has also embarked on a project with a sporting theme. Heavily involved in junior rugby, at a coaching and managerial level, Declan saw his own son Louis’ potential as a player and team leader and wanted advice on how to coach him to be a future England captain.
An Amazon search proved far from fruitful with the only the only books available on coaching for sporting leadership aimed at adults. So Declan and Louis decided to approach real sporting captains for their tips and advice and get advice first hand.
Soon, advice from big sporting names started to roll in and Declan thought it wasteful not to share it with others, and planned to compile the advice into a book. And now, with the Olympics just around the corner, Declan’s book So You Want to be Captain? has just been published for aspiring young sports people, with a proportion of profits being donated to Sports Relief.
Declan added: “We didn’t really set out with the intention of compiling the captains’ top tips to put into a book. However, with nearly 50 great pieces of advice from some of the best captains in the world, So You Want to be Captain?, can now be shared with lots of aspiring young sports-people, not just Louis.”
Platform has a copy of Declan’s book – So You Want to be a Captain? – up for grabs.
For your chance to win the book and an OU goodie bag, tell us what you’re looking forward to about the forthcoming Olympics. Will you be attending, watching on TV or planning a themed event?
Share your thoughts in the comments section below this competition (to comment on Platform you'll need to be logged in with your OU username and password, or you can comment via Facebook below too) and then email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject header Captain comp' and include your full name and address. You'll need to comment below AND email us to qualifiy for entry.
All entries will be entered into a prize draw and the winner picked at random on 1 July 2012.
Terms and conditions
This competition opens on 16/05/12 and closes on 01/07/12. Prizes must be taken as offered and are not transferable or exchangeable for a cash equivalent. Only one entry per person. This competition is open to all except members of The Open University's Communications Unit. Entries must be received by 01 July 2012. The promoter accepts no responsibility for any entries that are incomplete, illegible, corrupted or fail to reach the promoter by the relevant closing date for any reason. The winners will be drawn and notified within 28 days of the competition closing. The name and home town of the winner will be published on Platform. The editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.