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Does an Open University degree really compete in the employment market?

Dona Mclachlan

Open Justice student and regular blog contributor Dona Mclachlan writes about the value of studying with the Open University and positive employer perceptions.

Throughout my time at the Open University the same question has been asked by students including myself, is the OU really that great? Will my degree mean as much as a degree from a bricks and mortar University? It gets talked about at face to face tutorials, in the lunchroom, online in chats and phone calls with your classmates. Bottom line we are here to better improve not only our minds but our long-term financial outlook. Will an employer want me? Can we compete? Hopefully this story can convey the message that yes we can, much better than we ever imagined.

We all want to believe we are buying, living, receiving the very best in life we possibly can. I personally sent both my children to Russell Group Universities, only the best for my kids. But how did the OU stack up against the best?

In my view, we receive much more pastoral care than is available elsewhere in the sector.  Our tutors are available to us with ease and personally take the time to get know each individual. They do care and have been amazing in the Law Department. No making an appointment with a grad student because your tutor is unavailable to you. So many of my tutors have stated they would gladly provide an academic reference, most volunteering without even being asked.

Hopefully you have taken the time to access the careers section of the website. My kids were shocked to see the information available and the help we can receive something she never had access to. Do you know you can write your CV and have someone review it with you to really polish it up? The careers department should be your new best friend by your penultimate year, ask and you shall receive, all the help and advice you can possibly want. 

The jobs fairs online are both interesting and informative and they happen on a regular basis. I had emailed one of the speakers from last summer, to say what an inspiring speech she had made, she responded and has kept in touch. The OU is the largest University in the UK and yet is the smallest place to be, you never feel lost in the crowd.

Our law department gives us access to so much in the way of Open Justice projects, mooting and volunteer opportunities, other departments must offer similar. These opportunities enhance our academic achievements and further demonstrate our abilities.  We are as well rounded as we wish to be. It is easy to get involved and stay involved in the OU community 

Ultimately, we get back to employability, will an employer look at my degree and say this is fantastic, we need this person in our organization? This summer I worked on my CV after receiving some rejections, half hearted applications at best. The one and only application I made after polishing my CV in preparation for graduation 2021 was received with a most positive response from my local Government. The application was immediately shortlisted, I knew I had the job before the interview was even over. They loved the fact I will be getting an OU degree, it showed them in these pandemic times I can be independent, self-motivated, work online and stay positive while achieving great results. The OU method of delivering the material, combined with working practises during the pandemic has made us gold dust to employers. My Russell Group grad? She is still searching for a job with her prestigious maths degree, the OU definitely competes in a big way!

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