Studying for success

A pregnant wife, two young children and selling a house - not, you would think, an ideal background to undertaking a part time Open University course. However this is exactly what Graeme Humphrey, Operations Director at Codify did. In November 2006 Graeme started a six month part time project management course.

He explains, "It's not quite as bad as it sounds, we weren't planning to move house when I started the course but life doesn't go on hold and the time was right to sell so that was what we had to do. Because I had committed to doing the course I just made sure that I stayed focussed and continued to study and meet my self imposed deadlines."

Graeme carried out extensive research into the available courses before deciding which one was right for him. "As Operations Director at Codify project management is an essential part of my role. I knew that I wanted to study something that would benefit me at work so it was a case of looking around and determining which course met my requirements. The Open University project management course was the best choice for me as it is a part time self study course."

He adds, "That's not to say it's an easy option though - I had to commit to undertaking 15 hours of study per week. That's a lot to take on when you already have a busy full time job and a young family."

Prior to enrolling on the Open University project management course Graeme thought long and hard about the commitment he was intending to make. "I had to be sure that I would be able to meet the deadlines associated with the course and that I could complete the course - I had no intention of starting something that I couldn't finish." He adds, "I was fortunate that my work agreed to pay for the course, this gave me added impetus to make sure that I was committed to completing it too!"

Having made the decision to start the course Graeme put strategies in place to ensure that he would achieve his goal. "50% of the final mark was based on three assignments that were completed during the course and the remaining 50% was an exam. I used the assignment deadlines as a basis for my study plan and made sure that I stuck to it."

According to Graeme breaks from both work and studying were crucial in ensuring that he completed the course. "For me it was very important to not only have a plan in place to show what I needed to have covered and by when but also to have regular time off from studying. Throughout the six month course I always made sure that I had two days a week when I didn't have to hit the books. This certainly helped me to stick to my study plan."

He continues, "Anyone thinking of studying whilst working needs to be sure that the course they are doing is the right one, that they have the time available to commit to completing their studies and that they will be disciplined with themselves when it comes to studying at the end of the working day."

Graeme doesn't yet know his final result for the course however he is under no illusion as to the benefits he will reap from it. "I'm already utilising knowledge that I gained from the course in my day to day role. It's extremely rewarding to have done something I can implement on a daily basis. The course covered everything from project inception to completion/handover; I can't think of a single element that won't be of use to me at work."

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