Overend encourages Mid Ulster to think about options at Open University

Sandra Overend MLA and Stephen Farry with John D'Arcy at the OU Showcase, Stormont
Sandra Overend MLA and Stephen Farry with John D'Arcy at the OU Showcase, Stormont

FOLLOWING a showcase by the Open University in Parliament Buildings recently, UUP Assembly Member for Mid-Ulster, Sandra Overend, is encouraging more people to sign up to courses at the Open University.

Mrs Overend has highlighted the 142 Mid-Ulster constituents enrolled and encourages many more in Mid-Ulster to consider enhancing their educational attainment and therefore their employability via a course or modules at the Open University.

Mrs Overend said, “The Open University is very different to other university options in Northern Ireland and i would encourage

anyone who would like to enhance their career prospects to examine the various options available to study part-time, full-time, online, module by module, to provide just a few examples.

“I was very interested to hear that there are currently around 4,000 students from Northern Ireland studying around 5,000 modules. 142 of those students are studying from Mid-Ulster.”

Sandra, who is the Ulster Unionist Party Spokesperson for the Economy, added,

“In these tough economic times, more and more people are finding it difficult to find employment. It is vital to give yourself every possible advantage in the job market, and often this means further education. Statistics released recently show that In 2011, Northern Ireland had the highest proportion of the population with no qualifications, at 21.7%. It can be very beneficial to get more qualifications from a college of further education, or university like the Open University.

“Just last week at the Enterprise Committee we heard from Momentum, a representative body of the digital sector in Northern Ireland who told us that at the present time there are up to 1000 unfilled vacancies in the ICT sector and that there were not enough people with the right skills to make the most of this opportunity.

“Our economy needs a greater proportion of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) graduates to fill the gap in the market that business and industry are crying out for, and it is imperative that more people are trained in these areas.”