Learning and earning
The idea that it is possible to earn whilst you learn is promoted as one of the advantages of apprenticeships, but people have been learning and working for a very long time.
Part-time student numbers increasing
The number of people studying with the Open University continues to increase, and the number of people under 25, an age group that would be expected to study full-time are an increasingly opting for part-time courses.
Jennifer, 24, turned down a place at Durham University in favour of being able to combine work and study and has now completed her degree with The Open University.
Studying at your pace
She was the only person in her sixth form that chose not to go away to university. Five years on she doesn’t regret her decision one bit.
She has been able to study at her own pace, while holding down a full-time job and gaining valuable experience in the job market.
Jennifer has no student debt and considers herself far more employable than some of her counterparts fresh out of university who have struggled to find a job.
Jennifer chose the OU because she didn’t feel that the university lifestyle was for her.
After achieving 4A’s at A Level it wasn’t that she didn’t have the grades or ability for a full-time conventional university degree course.
She was offered a place at Durham University, which is top of the league tables for her chosen subject, geography, but she preferred the flexibility offered by the OU.
Studying with the Open University meant that she could work while studying to fund herself and avoid crippling debt. It was she says the best decision she has ever made.
One of the reasons why the Open University was created in the 1960’s was to enable people who had missed out on a university education to improve their life options by studying and working at the same time.
As the Willy Russell play and subsequent film Educating Rita starring Michael Caine and Julie Waters demonstrated the Open University changed lives.
Changing landscape of education
When it was launched the Open University was perceived by some people as a poor person’s university that wasn’t really equal to traditional establishments.
Since then the landscape of higher education has undergone some dramatic changes.
The Open University offers an open learning model that fits studying around other work and family commitments, which is vitally important as the costs of full-time education continue to increase.