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Open University graduates celebrate outstanding achievements at Croke Park

John D'Arcy, Orlagh Costello and Lord Christopher Haskins

Nearly 200 Open University students from across Ireland received their degrees on Friday 10th April 2015 at a ceremony in the iconic surroundings of Croke Park, Dublin. Graduating with everything from BSc to MBA and MSc in Technology Management, the newly qualified graduates are expected to either start their careers or return to blue-chip companies like Pfizer, Medtronic, Hewlett Packard and Aer Lingus with a whole raft of new knowledge and skills, ready to deploy in the work environment.

Receiving a Fellowship Award from The Open University at the ceremony was Dublin-born businessman Lord Christopher Haskins, who served as Pro-Chancellor of The Open University between 2005 and 2014. After accepting the award, Lord Haskins said: “The Open University is a wonderful institution which has changed the lives of thousands of graduates across Ireland and the United Kingdom since it was established over forty years ago.  It is an honour to accept this award and to be so closely associated with an organisation that provides huge educational opportunities to people who would never otherwise have considered those accessible to them.”

The average age of an Open University student in Ireland is 33 and eight out of nine Irish Open University students study around a job.

Orlagh Costello, a 34 year-old Reliability Engineer, graduated with a Masters in Technology Management. Commenting after receiving her Masters, Orlagh said: “Through The Open University, I was able to complete my Masters over an eight-year period. I started by taking a more general module in project management but over time I decided to specialise in more technical modules; all of which I was able to directly apply to my job. I am lucky that I have found an area that is developing in Ireland right now and that there are opportunities for further development in the future.

“The Open University’s model of one-to-one support suited me a lot better than a traditional university would, with everything I needed available online. I didn’t get lost in the crowd and the tutors responded quickly to all of my queries – even questions I thought were a bit daft! While I was studying, I moved house seven times, got married, changed jobs four times and moved countries as well. Only The Open University could have allowed me to do all of this while still completing my Masters.”

National Director of The Open University in Ireland John D’Arcy congratulated all students on their achievement, commenting: “Open University students demonstrate an extraordinary commitment when it comes to completing their degrees. Eighty per cent of our students in Ireland complete their studies while in work and many have additional caring responsibilities. For most of our graduates, no other higher education provider could provide them with the flexibility to study around their life commitments that The Open University does. As Ireland’s largest provider of distance learning higher education, we are proud as a University to celebrate their achievements and hope that many future opportunities will be opened up to our graduates in their careers.”


Notes to editors:

  1. There are currently over 2000 students studying with The Open University in Ireland and 29 635 Irish students have studied with the University since it was founded in 1969. Its awards are formally aligned with the National Framework of Qualifications, Ireland and it is a member of Universities Ireland.
  2. 50% of Open University undergraduate module registrations in Ireland are in science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM).
  3. The Open University is a world leader in developing new technologies for education and has recently worked in partnership with Trinity College Dublin on developing free online courses for FutureLearn, a massive online open courses (MOOC) platform.

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Monday, April 13, 2015 - 16:15

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