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Josh Malcolm

Josh MalcolmA father of three who works full-time as an NHS nursing assistant transferred credit from his college studies to an Open University (OU) degree course based at his college campus, and has graduated with Honours.

Joshua (Josh) Malcolm completed a Higher National Certificate (HNC) and then moved on to complete a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Social Sciences at Ayrshire College. He was able to transfer academic credit from these to his OU Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Combined Social Sciences degree.

“My course tutor advised that there was something coming up through The Open University where you would get a chance to use your Social Science studies to gain your Honours degree within two years, within an environment I was familiar with – the Kilmarnock campus, and the Kilwinning campus library.

Flexible learning

“I was able to pursue my work and my family commitments and after two years I would come out with an Honours degree. That idea was really very appealing for me, because I wouldn’t lose anything, I could gain an Honours degree and still work full-time and have my social ties with my family intact.

“Getting credit transfer was a smooth process for me. 

“I would wholeheartedly recommend The OU to anyone who wants to go along that route. It is the greatest thing that ever happened to me. After I finished my HNC and HND, if not for The OU I would have said, “Alright, let me just be a father, because I have two kids”, and I’ll maybe do it later – and then have ended up not doing it at all. 

“But The Open University gave me the opportunity to just follow straight on from my HND and this is where I am. It is the greatest experience and best thing that has ever happened to me.

Support

“I got good support to apply for funding. Before I was enrolled fully with The OU, I had already made contact with them to map the way forward on how to access the finance. They sent me the forms, which I filled in and returned and in a week or two I had secured my funding (via the Part-Time Fee Grant). 

“I had the same tutors on my degree study as for my HNC and HND, so I spent about four years in total getting to know them in the same environment. For me, that was an advantage.

“The disciplines of combining studies with a family and a job are hard work, commitment and dedication. 

“Becoming a father again during my studies, it was a big challenge. You need to make time for every aspect of your life – your family life, your academic life, your social life, your working life – so you apportion time for each and every stage of your studies.

“The support from my tutors was excellent. 

“Sometimes there are instances where in the middle of having a course day you get a call to say that your child has taken ill so you need to come, and you take time off. Then whatever has been discussed, the tutors will always send an email to say this is what you missed.

“I am now doing a Masters with the University of the West of Scotland in Paisley, pursuing a career in alcohol and drug studies. After my degree I’d like to specialise in addiction work, giving care and advice to people in the community.

“My interest in this was developed through my OU degree. In the Crime and justice module, it looked at who decides how drugs are classified and what is criminal."