The Open University (OU) in Scotland student, Carly McCluskey from Glasgow is the final student to feature in MTV’s ‘Generation Change’ campaign. Carly, 25 has used her Business Management degree with the OU to launch The Random Vegans with her boyfriend, Jason. Their plant-based ‘vegan egg’ substitute company helps make breakfast more environmentally friendly.
'Generation Change: Ones To Watch’, is a co-branded docuseries with the OU and MTV. In each episode, host Henrie Kwushue meets the OU students that are not only changing their futures – but are busy tackling global issues related to the environment, equality and health.
Carly used her business degree to give her the building blocks to progress her company and positively impact the environmental causes she’s so passionate about. With a full-time role working in recruitment, Carly was initially worried she would need to put her life on hold to study; but studying flexibly with the OU meant Carly could earn while she learns and put her new skills into practice straight away.
“We went vegan about five years ago,” says Carly. “It was then that we really learned about the impact our eating habits have on the environment, never mind the actual impact of meat and dairy on the body. I just thought if I want to make this change in my life and in the world, then I need to learn about business so that I can grow my own,” she says.
“My degree has helped me in so many ways, from learning the basics of accounting, so I can do the books for our business, to learning the basics of marketing to help promote it and create social media campaigns.
"From the second I got my module material, I was reading about it and applying it to my business straight away.”
Not only are Carly and her partner Jason running their business together, Carly also inspired Jason to become an OU student too.
As Jason explains: “Carly started her course about six months before me and the knowledge she was gaining from the course was just so evident and I thought, ‘I’m crazy for not doing that as well’.”
After launching their first product – a ‘chick-free’ egg mix – the couple now successfully juggle their studies alongside their jobs and sending out orders to customers.
“With the flexibility of the OU, it really helps me keep on top of everything I need to do,” says Carly. “I can work and study at the same time, from my laptop at home and you can also access everything on your phone.
“Everyone at the OU is so, so helpful, from the tutors to the amazing group of students. It really is a great sense of community. They’re always there if I need any help or assistance.”
Looking to the future and how far she’s come already, entrepreneur Carly feels like the sky is the limit.
“I just want to learn as much as I can to make my business the best it can be. We would love to bring out more products, potentially even have a cookbook, or even our own Random Vegan restaurant one day! I was once a big meat eater and I’ve changed my habits, so I really believe that vegan food can be more accessible to everyone. I want to inspire others to make small changes for them and the environment – that’s what motivates me.”
Find out more about Carly by watching her film below, which will be shown over the next five weeks on MTV’s digital and online channels.