Who says there’s only one path to success? After receiving an offer for a brick university at 18, Candace decided to do things differently by jumping straight into the world of work.
Not wanting to put her life on hold to gain her qualifications, Candace, now 24, began studying Business Management (Marketing) with The Open University in Wales. It’s given her the ultimate flexibility – and meant she was ready to take on a new OU internship opportunity when the COVID-19 pandemic unexpectedly changed her plans:
“I originally chose the OU because I liked the idea of working while studying and being completely independent.
The application process was straightforward and far less overwhelming compared to applying through UCAS. Also, compared to other organisations, the OU was the cheapest option for pursuing higher education.
I choose to study to change my career goals and because of how redundancy-prone the retail sector is. I wanted to study a subject which was practical and transferable to any sector and chose Business Management and Marketing.
Unfortunately, during my second module, I was made redundant from my retail job due to the pandemic. Being a retail advisor during COVID-19, there was a lot of uncertainty. That was a really anxious time because I wasn’t sure where I was going to go from there. Thankfully, an opportunity came up within The Open University through their GO Wales virtual internships.
Boosting business skills with GO Wales
I started the internship to gain business marketing and management experience and worked directly with The OU in Wales marketing communications team.
I felt like I had to opportunity to learn some real tangible skills. And most importantly, I got a real confidence boost. I feel like I’m competent enough to apply for administration jobs because of the valuable experience that I received during the placement.
The GO Wales team are very dedicated, very supportive and very inspiring. And I think that anyone who has the opportunity, should take it, because it is life changing! You will come out a completely different person. You won’t regret it.
Flexibility to study anywhere
The best part of studying with the OU is the flexibility, being able to work wherever and whenever. The challenging element is the independence and being completely responsible for managing my time effectively. Since starting my course, I never felt the urge to give up, I enjoy my courses and feel more encouraged to continue when I pass my assignments. I think that the teaching materials are great, super easy to follow and easy to understand.
The OU’s ‘open access’ entry policy was most important to me as it was indiscriminate and was not heavily reliant on my educational background, which made applying less intimidating but rather encouraging.
For anyone considering OU study, my advice would be to believe in yourself and your capabilities. Don’t be discouraged by your educational background because the OU has an amazing student support system.
The people I’ve met during my face-to-face tutorials have all inspired me during my studies, as they all came from different backgrounds and different stages in life. The common goal to become better is very inspiring.
I’d say the OU has changed me as a person. I feel that I have become more confident and proactive in shaping my future. I’ve now secured an internship with a start-up business as a Partnerships Coordinator. I’m currently gaining lots of experience and really enjoying my role.”