Degree Week

Degree Week which started 10th August is a week long programme set up by The Open University to provide help and guidance to those planning on degree study. August is a key month for any would-be student considering registering for an autumn start.

The Open University is here to help; from advice, webinars, chats on Facebook; through to case studies and guidance articles; and at any time we're here for an online chat or a phone conversation.

If you are considering a change of career then it’s likely that the idea has been rolling around inside your head for some time. It’s the kind of niggling thought that bubbles up occasionally when you’re having a bad day at work or idly chatting with an old friend over a meal. Research commissioned by The Open University amongst 1000 adults reveals that 87% of Germans, for example, don't have the exact job they dreamt of as a child. So what would it be like to do something else? Must that dream job of yours have to remain forever a dream?

However, it’s also likely that you’ve thought of a thousand excuses why such a change is impractical or beyond the reach of the likes of you. You’ve a busy life, maybe with children and a partner who also works. Maybe your qualifications are not exactly what you’d wish them to be and school feels a very, very long time ago. And you’re not even sure if you like the idea of studying again. 

You wouldn’t be alone in thinking this way. Again, The Open University research shows that 64%  of Germans, for example, feel either unsure or that they don’t have the skills required to get their dream job and 34% think that they are too old to make the move.  But when that niggle persists, when you can’t stop thinking that maybe there’s something better out there for you then perhaps it’s time to give a career change some proper thought.

So read on - we hope you find the information and links to articles, events and advice below helpful. 


Some tips

Be informed.

In the digital world there’s an overwhelming amount of information available; some of it will be useful, some of it will be irrelevant but you need to spend time sifting through it. If you have a particular career in mind then first find out what qualifications are required and then which institutions offer the courses that you need.

Be strategic.

It’s important to plan how long it will take to retrain or gain new qualifications. Are you going to study full time or would part-time study be a more realistic fit with your existing commitments?

Remember that many courses will fit around you but each will have their expectations of how much time you should spend studying. Work out what’s feasible. Be ambitious with your planning but be sensible. Will you be able to be fit a significant number of study hours into your week? Will these need to vary each week/month?

Be advised.

Talk to someone already in the field you want to enter; unless you’re aiming for something completely outlandish then they should not be hard to find. Ask friends and family for contacts and when you find someone ask questions, find out as much as you can about their working life. Decide whether your hunch about enjoying a particular career is true. It may not be and it’s better that you find this out first before applying for a course.

Be ready to think about money.

Sound financial planning is crucial when considering retraining and we don’t mean deciding how you’d spend your dream salary. Most course providers will charge for their qualifications and it’s probably not sensible to raid your savings without a proper plan. Weigh up costs against potential benefits and be realistic about the future. It’s likely that you’ll be taking a pay-cut when starting a new job, at least to begin with, so your planning must account for this.

Be brave. Be proud.

Making a career change is a big decision but you shouldn’t let nerves stop you from making it. If you’ve done your research, if you’ve planned your time and your finances then take a deep breath and go for it. It may be daunting but it is also very exciting. You’ll be taking the first step to achieving the career you’ve always dreamt about. And that has got to feel good.


The Open University offers distance-learning courses in a wide range of subject areas, bringing your dream career within reach.  Advantages of studying with the OU include:

  • A wide range of qualifications at a number of levels
  • Flexible course structures to suit busy lifestyles
  • No previous qualifications required for bachelor degrees
  • Age no barrier
  • Highly respected by both industry and the private sector.

What can be achieved?

Hear from one of our past MBA students....

image of a video player 

Ready for Online Learning? 

As part of Degree Week, we ran a survey on Thursday last week asking people who had enquired with The Open University how they felt about studying, and their concerns. Below are the highlights and some comments from us.

When asked 'What do you want to get out of a university qualification?'

The leading answer (57% ) said they wanted to change their career or have better job prospects. But surpisingly close behind (with 41%) was for personal knowledge; showing that degree study isn't always about the impact on careers but also to expand people as individuals.

OU comment: The Open University offer over 600 courses, one of the widest choices available, and includes course for both career and personal development.

When asked what's stopping you from starting...

The majority said it was the level of tuition fees:

1. Tuition fee level. 
OU comment: There are no additional charges for resources when studying at The Open University. All study materials and books are included in the price, and because you can study from home while you continue to work there are no costs associated with any loss of income and travel costs you would normally pay at a campus based university.

2. I'm not sure what course to do. 
OU comment: We have over 600 courses to choose from and covering certificate, diploma and degree level. We also offer individual modules. We have something for everyone and offer one of the largest choices in the UK. The best advice is to contact us today (either through our chat line, call us, or press the button at the top of web pages called ‘FREE call back’) and we will call you to talk through your options.

3. Family and work commitments. 
OU comment: This is an important always important when embarking on such a commitment, but study at The OU is designed with your family and work in mind.  Flexibility is one of the biggest offers we make with the OU. Flexibility in terms of where, when and how you study. ‘Where’ in terms of the study being on all digital devices so you can study on the move and at any location using OU Anywhere. ‘When’ in terms of when you are happy to take on the next module and over what time period.  And ‘how’ by offering all study online and with a wealth of support from tutorials, student networks, a 24/7 online library and almost endless study resources from Open Learn; now you can access a world of information like never before.​

For more information contact us today, view our range of Bachelor degrees, and attend our Facebook Chat session.

Grown Up Jobs survey

A survey of 1000 adults in each of Germany, The Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland revealed the extent to which people feel trapped in unwanted jobs, and just how many feel they lack the skills to make the move and follow their dreams. Click here to see some of the results.

Surpising figures but just look at just what is possible with an OU degree!

Top 10 Dream Jobs

The above survey also gave us a league table of dream jobs. Surpisingly high rankings were 'Travel Journalist' in Ireland, 'Actor' for Germany and 'Vet' for Dutch adults.

Click to view the full list


Chats and Webinars

Facebook Chat

Our Facebook Chat on the 11th August had some great questions posed, we hope our answers helped. If you weren't able to attend, we will be running further sessions in the future but for now it might be helpful if you can go to the page to view the questions and answers.

MBA Webinar

On Thursday 13th August at 7pm GMT (8pm Central European Time) we’ll be running an information-packed webinar for those of you interested in studying an MBA with The Open University. Visit our Business School website to book your place now - we’re expecting this to be especially popular!

Our online information sessions provide an excellent opportunity for you to hear from and speak with ourAssociate Dean of OUBS, Director of MBA, Masters Programme Manager and other MBA lecturers. You can also learn how the OUBS gives you an MBA programme which you can immediately put into practice, where what you learn today can be put into action tomorrow and which is also easily the most flexible MBA you can get.

Advice articles

Some useful advice and tips...

Case Studies

Face those Finances

Top tips for making an informed decision to retrain

Dream Jobs

Find out about our courses

Click here to start looking through our Bachelor degrees and Master degrees.