Adam Prestwood began life after school pursuing a career in law, but changed track to finance and, with the help of his employers, hasn't looked back since...
When I left the sixth form, I didn’t know what to do and there seemed no easy way to push into finance as a career. I did Law at A level and decided I wanted to pursue law, so I got a job at a local solicitors. They promised me all sorts of things but did not deliver.
Then I saw an advert for a job at Alpha Financial Consultants as an office junior and I thought ‘let’s go for it’. But after two years I began to think I should really have got a degree and considered leaving to go to a local university, but they wanted me to stay as part of the team.
My employers looked into The Open University which meant I could study and keep working, and the firm said they would pay for me to do an BA Hons in Business Studies. They set aside a room and I would get into the office at 8.30am and study through to 10.30am four days a week. My hours were cut accordingly but then they were paying for my tuition fees (with some available grants), helped with travel to day school and supplied me with a personal laptop.
Being cloistered away at work,with everyone under orders not to disturb me, gave me the motivation to study. Working at home in the evenings would have been a struggle but when I was in that room I was in study mode. The door stayed closed and people pretended I wasn’t there. I was studying not just while in work – but at work!
I worked steadily through each OU module and during the breaks I picked up financial qualifications relevant to my role, which changed to become client coordinator.
I found the quality of the study materials were very good, and the way the course was laid out made it easy to progress. It told you what you should be reading and what assignments you should be doing. When I was in contact with my tutors, some would get back to me within a few hours and constructive criticism was welcome so I could improve next time.
I would interact with other students via the OU forums - they were fantastic. I used them to see what questions were being asked and if I had a question I would usually ask it on there. Day school was a great way to meet other students and put faces to names. People expressed their frustrations and worries and it was nice to know you were not on your own during exams etc.
After five and half years study with no breaks (due to study external to the OU), I graduated with a 2:1 with Hons.
If you're inspired by Adam's story, find out more about studying with the OU.