Maggie Bates, 37, from Bangor, graduated with a Master’s degree in Education from The Open University (OU) on Friday 20th April in Croke Park.
At a ceremony with 103 graduates of all ages and backgrounds and from a spectrum of careers, Maggie also saw the degree of Doctor of the University conferred on musician Phil Coulter.
As a Disability Support Officer for The Open University, Maggie is always reminded of the importance of life-long learning, and this is why she chose this qualification.
She says: “My main motivation for studying the MEd was an interest in the subject of education studies and a personal wish to continue learning. I also wanted to complete Master’s level study as I felt that this would make future career prospects within the OU more possible.”
She says: “I think that studying with the OU has made me more mindful of the breadth of different people’s experiences and as a result has caused me to be more open-minded. I feel that being an OU student stands for something that is very crucial in today’s society. I will always feel proud to say I have studied with the OU.”
The flexible nature of Open University study enabled Maggie to complete her qualification, fitting it around work and family life. She says: “During the course of my studies I moved countries from England back to Northern Ireland, moved house and also took on some caring responsibilities for family. I also changed my job role with the OU last year, which meant that I had to adjust to a new way of working whilst also studying towards my final module.”
John D’Arcy, National Director of The Open University said:
“I offer a huge congratulations to all of our graduates. Each one, just like Maggie, has worked incredibly hard, juggling their studies alongside their jobs, families and commitments. They have demonstrated how part-time higher education really can transform lives.”