From a variety of backgrounds and all studying different subjects, see how our students have coped with study alongside real life and flourished on their OU learning journeys. These are real journeys of discovery, with each student finding out what they’re capable of and making their lives better.
Shafiq studied BA (Hons) Humanities with the OU. His goal has always been to improve his job prospects and to build a future for himself and his family. However, the road has not been an easy one and when Shafiq’s wife was 8 months pregnant they were made homeless. Despite these dark times Shafiq has secured a job as an assistant teacher at a local high school.
Shafiq was “Highly Commended” in the Into Work category at the 2017 Inspire! adult learner awards.
Paul grew up on an estate in Merthyr Tydfil. He went to college to learn bricklaying and ended up working on building sites and then got a job in a chrome plating factory. His manager had done an OU degree and asked if he wanted to try it himself. He started with entry level maths and chemistry and then began a degree in IT.
Once he got his degree a promotion followed and Paul has since gone on to further OU study.
He still lives on the same estate where he grew up and says that because of the opportunity the OU gave him, he is now someone who believes you can achieve anything.
Ann-Louise works part-time, is a single mum and a carer to other family members. While volunteering in her daughter’s school, Ann-Louise studied the OU Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Primary Schools to train to become a teaching assistant. Ann-Louise has now set her sights even higher and has progressed to studying a BA (hons) Childhood and Youth development intending to specialise in supporting children with special needs.
See more of Ann-Louise's OU story.
A busy dad to four children, Darren used to be a barber but was diagnosed with an illness that meant he could no longer carry on with this work. Interested in the environment, Darren registered to study a BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences and after a year, Darren was successfully recruited by a global biosciences company in Gwent. Darren’s employers are very supportive and want him to continue with postgraduate study. He is now looking forward to a rewarding career.
See more of Darren's OU story.
The day after Teresa was told that her disability meant she’d never work again, she decided to contact The Open University.
Teresa talks about the support the OU offers to help with her study, her plans to become a writer when she finishes her BA (Hons) English Literature and Creative Writing and how she has encouraged others to consider OU study
See more of Teresa's OU story.
Claire, a Mum of two, made a decision to study a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) following the breakdown of her marriage and her own lengthy legal battle. Claire was determined not to be a stay at home single mum with no job or prospects, instead aiming to become a barrister and help others in similar circumstances.
See more of Claire's OU story.
8 years ago, James Harris from Merthyr was jailed for drugs offences, but instead of hitting rock-bottom, the then 23-year-old decided to turn his life around. Whilst serving two sentences, totalling more than 6 years, James gained more than 20 different qualifications from life coaching to nutrition. He also mentored other inmates, helping around 30 of them achieve basic literacy skills, progressing to work as a Further and Higher Education mentor.
Find out what it feels like to finally cross that stage after years of hard work. In this video, filmed at our 2015 graduation ceremony, some of our graduates talk about their experiences of studying with us and how they’re feeling about their big day.
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