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Access - Leon Sullivan

"I studied with The Open University (OU) for three years before transferring to Leeds Metropolitan University in 2009. I’ve been employed as the structural engineering manager for AkzoNobel since the beginning of 2016.""

Although the registration process was quite straightforward, I found making the initial call extremely difficult. I remember feeling foolish and I think I tried about four times before I succeeded. Attending an open evening gave me a real sense of belonging and was a life-changing moment for me.

All my tutors were excellent, especially the first one, who tutored me on Open to change. During our telephone tutorials she was really encouraging. She really went the extra mile and helped me formulate a plan for the next ten years of my life. The learning materials were excellent, especially when compared with other non-OU materials I’ve since come across. They’re really well written and the content is up to date. I also liked the variety of formats offered.

"I’ve definitely benefitted from my OU studies. The Access Module changed everything for me as I learned the importance of prioritising and about how goals link together. On a personal level my self-confidence is now far greater. At work I’m more conscious of the safety aspects of my job. I also feel I can apply for any job in my field."

Studying wasn’t without its challenges, I have to admit. For me, the main one was finding the time to devote to my studies. My colleagues were very accommodating, however, as they knew I was studying, so left me to my materials at work. I also had to get to grips with essay writing again as it had been a long time since I’d done any academic writing. In addition, I had to make sacrifices as regards having a social life, although my partner was understanding in this respect.

Overall, however, my OU experience was a very positive one. The Openings Module paved the way for me to do so much, so for me is one of the highlights of my time at the University. Getting my first tutor-marked assignment done also sticks in my mind as it was such a relief to get through it.

To anyone thinking about signing up for OU study, I’d say, don’t be afraid – go for it. In fact, I’ve already recommended the OU to a number of people.

As for the future, I’ve really no idea what it might hold, although I’ve no plans for further study. I’m very fortunate to be doing my current job. I now have a global role for a major international organisation that I could only have dreamed of when I set out on the path of studying with the OU, so I want to concentrate on that for the time being and see where it takes me.