A Carrickfergus resident has revealed how a university’s flexible studying programme allowed him to change career paths.
Prince Andrew Young-Owolanke, originally from Nigeria, graduated with a Certificate in Health and Social Care practice. Having already completed a BTEC National Award in Engineering, he decided to switch with The Open University.
He said: “The OU presented a flexible pathway for me to incorporate study, employment and family life. The OU course brought the classroom to me.”
Prince Andrew had to overcome challenges of work-study-life balance, particularly as he worked shifts. However, according to the OU, he kept focused on the outcome knowing that this was the only study route that suited his personal circumstances.
Since completing his degree, Prince Andrew has been able to apply techniques and theories into his job role. He said: “I have gained not only the confidence and experience but the qualifications to apply for management roles.”
He added: “Studying through the OU has facilitated me to realise a lifelong dream and ambition of obtaining a tertiary education that otherwise I could not have attained due to the nature of my job and working patterns. I would not have been able to achieve my degree in a mainstream university environment with the same flexibility that I had with the OU.”
A total of 160 students from Northern Ireland received their degrees from Vice-Chancellor of the University, Martin Bean, at a ceremony in the Waterfront Hall, Belfast.
John D’Arcy, national director of The Open University in Northern Ireland, said: “Studying with the OU requires determination and self-discipline, as students manage their own schedules, often juggling academic work between a job and family commitments. We’re proud to celebrate their success on this inspiring day.”
Last year, 1000 people in Northern Ireland chose to combine their jobs with part-time study in order to fulfil their desire to achieve a qualification. Students can access course materials using smart apps, tablets, mobile phones and other devices.
The OU also offers free learning resources which allow people to explore education before they commit to a full course.