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Sky’s the limit for Garry with new media partnership

Garry Richardson OU/Sky partnership student

The Open University has launched a new media partnership with Sky and Channel 5 as part of its wider ‘Ambition’ advertising campaign. A series of OU and Sky co-branded TV adverts tell the stories of four students who have landed new jobs with Sky, demonstrating the credibility of an OU qualification and the employability of OU students with respected organisations.

One of those featured is 33-year-old Scot Garry Stevenson who has been studying part-time for a BA in Business Management since 2018. Garry has been employed by Sky for 12 years and wanting to move up the career ladder, he secured a secondment in 2019 as an account executive with the Sky Business Group Admin team in Livingstone near Edinburgh.

Stirling-born Garry lives in West Calder with his new wife Nicola, the couple tying the knot in autumn 2019, and his ambition is to become a project manager with Sky.

My OU studies have improved my career by helping me secure this secondment, and helping me work towards securing a permanent position in this field and to becoming a project manager. My manager has seen a difference in me and has commented on how well my confidence has come on and how well I self-manage my workloads now. It was actually my friend from Sky who pushed me to get my degree under my belt. This has started a chain, as other colleagues have asked me how to go about applying for a course with the OU.

On average, I spend about 15 hours a week studying. To have a good work-life balance, I keep my studying to weekdays and evenings, if possible. This frees up the weekend so I can spend time with my wife and friends and spend time on my hobbies including running.

Garry Richardson, OU/Sky partnership student

Diagnosed with dyslexia aged 10, Garry is now a mental health ambassador for Sky and part of a network called Body&Mind @Sky which raises awareness and encourages discussion about mental health concerns within the organisation.

At a young age, I was finding life tough. As I have dyslexia, I found support difficult as people were branding me as ‘stupid’ or said things like ‘You will never be good enough for that’. I felt my good nature was being abused by people, and I also found it difficult to open up to people. At this point I found myself down a dark road, alone and helpless, to the point I nearly took my own life. I started to push myself out of my comfort zone and I have now achieved so much in the last few years.

The OU gives me the help, support, flexibility and tools to achieve my goals. I can video chat with my tutor and have regular check-in calls. My tutor has also provided support by giving me a call to talk over my assessment results and areas which I can improve on. They are also very understanding and during a busy period of my life when I was getting married, gave me extra time to submit my assessments. My tutor will even help me spell-check and suggests other learning tips and tools to help support me. This has played a massive part in my life over the last six months, with my confidence growing and gaining presenting skills.

The new Sky adverts evolve the successful Open Diaries concept from recent years and will be seen 34 million times in just three months. They will play out on nine main channels including Sky One, Sky Sports, Sky News and Sky Cinema.

You can watch Garry's advert below:

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