Open Eye: 'What it means to me...'

Three students sum up the experience and benefits of their Master's programmes

Martin Heighway was an MA in Education student when he became famous for his speed on the buzzer in University Challenge last year. A science teacher at a comprehensive school in the Portsmouth area, he's now completed his MA and gone on to study for Doctorate.

"I've been teaching for four years - before that I was a biochemist. I took the MA to progress my career - the beauty of the OU is you don't have to give up work.

"Coming from a background in empirical science, I found the MA study quite different. The course I enjoyed most was Education, Training and Employment - now called Education, Training and the Future of Work - which I found very solid and concrete in its approach.

"I found it difficult to study in the evenings - after a hard day's work, I just didn't want to get my books out. So it helped that the cut- off date for TMAs (essays) coincided with vacations!"

Paddy O'Reilly is studying his first course in the MSc in Development Management, with the aim of launching a career in overseas development.

Formerly a consultant to the Canadian forestry industry on issues of resource management and biodiversity, Paddy has given up his successful and well-paid career to work in overseas development.

He is currently on a year's placement with Oxfam in Oxford.

Paddy's work placement and OU course is part of a year-long programme run by the School for Social Entrepreneurs, set up to further innovation in the voluntary sector: "Part of the curriculum allows people to pick an OU course appropriate to their area."

He chose the Master's course to familiarise himself with a new field of work: "To break into the development world from the business world is a difficult transition, they are two distinct cultures. The terminology and procedures in development are new to me. Some of the ways in which things are done are quite different from the corporate sector. I think it is a brilliant course, in terms of content and structure, and the tutor is superb."

Eric Burns, from Chelmsford, worked in development in Malawi in the 70s and 80s. Now, at 51, he is contemplating going overseas again, and is currently studying Capacities for Managing Development while working full time: "The field has changed tremendously and there are things which are very important but of which I have had no experience," he says

Eric has also found the new skills is learning useful in his job as deputy head of environmental services for Chelmsford Council, and his employers have agreed to pay half the cost of his study.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
The cartoon depicts the UK (far left) walking around a Syrian child refugee
newsIn an exclusive artwork for The Independent, Ali Ferzat attacks Britain's lack of 'humanity'
Life and Style
Man taking selfie in front of car
health
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford in the PG-rated 'Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom'
film
Sport
footballManager attacks Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after criticism of Diego Costa's apparent stamping
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
business
Life and Style
food + drink
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
British author Helen Macdonald, pictured with Costa book of the year, 'H is for Hawk'
booksPanel hail Helen Macdonald's 'brilliantly written, muscular prose'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Frozen out: despite being filmed in Iceland, 'Fortitude' is set further north, in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard
tvGerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Tradewind Recruitment: Intervention Teacher Required To Start ASAP.

£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Tradewind are working with this secondary s...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: We are working with a school that needs a t...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore