Life changing scholarships and support for those impacted by COVID
Since we launched our community initiative, The Big Help Out in August 2020, we're proud to announce that we have helped over 50 people that had their careers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The initiative provided a range of free career support and saw 11 part scholarships, and one fully-funded scholarship awarded, to help those students who were struggling to finance their studies.
Abby Carter from West Yorkshire was made redundant from her role in cabin crew for an airline company, whilst also going through treatment for Hodgkin Lymphoma when she was granted a fully-funded scholarship.
With hopes of building a career working with animals, she said: “I’ve nearly finished my animal care course which I started in the winter. It’s been really nice to go back to writing assignments and to read about a subject that I enjoy. My tutor has been brilliant and gives me great feedback. I’ve finished my treatment for Hodgkin Lymphoma so I’m on the mend now and ready to finish both of my courses before I go back out to work.”
Part scholarship student, Daniel Traher said: “The Big Help Out really did just that!
I was awarded a part-funded biology course whilst doing two other A Levels at the same time.”
Part scholarship student, Rosie Clark said: “The scholarship has been a great help to me especially in these hard times with COVID. I appreciate all the help Open Study College has given me with my studies. Over lockdown I moved across to another city, and OSC allowed me to be flexible with my studies and not worry about a change of colleges.”
During the course of their campaign designed specifically to provide direct career and job seeking assistance, Open Study College collaborated with a number of partners to provide free support, including CV reviews and critique workshops, pre-interview testing, career guidance via online video chats and free access to resources such as mindfulness videos, career planning, and goal setting downloadables.
Collaborators included recruitment agencies; a certified trainer and career coach; Clear from the Crowd - a company that helps people to stand out in the career market; and Project Awesome Life, a mindfulness coach.
Owner of Clear from the Crowd, Maria Loten, commented: “During the campaign I found that the majority of people were looking to change their careers and, therefore, studying to support that. I’ve found the experience of ‘helping out’ to be both interesting and rewarding. I’ve met some very dedicated people, and I hope I’ve been able to make a positive difference for them with their career journey.”
Laura McDonald, a certified trainer and career coach, said: “I got in contact with about 50 people in the end. I spoke to everyone from students finishing their A Levels, to people who had been out of work for some time through choice or due to the pandemic. The careers they were looking at varied from architects and engineering giants to beauticians and school teachers.
“Doing this project was a great opportunity for me as well as the people I helped. It was amazing to have a platform to give back and OSC have reaffirmed to me that you get back what you put in.”
In addition, Open Study College gifted a number of £50 Amazon vouchers inside its study packs to surprise and delight students on ‘Blue Monday’ during the third national lockdown in January, and created a range of career-related support collateral including ‘how to’ guides and a free employability guide. It also donated to mental health charity, Mind.
Director of Marketing at Open Study College, Sadie Cooper, said: “As a family-run business with the facility to help people retrain or develop their current skill sets, the whole team at Open Study College felt passionate about providing support. That coupled with the excellent guidance from our collaborators has meant that we’ve been able to help those that have needed a boost of confidence to get back on their feet during the pandemic.
“This campaign has been close to our hearts and with the ongoing impacts of COVID and many still requiring support, we’ve decided to continue on our mission to make education accessible to all and have set up an ongoing ‘career kickstart’ programme with the involvement of key partnerships we’ve made during The Big Help Out.”