Blue Toon’s Nicola is youngest graduate

Nicola Stapley of Peterhead.
Nicola Stapley of Peterhead.

PETERHEAD woman Nicola Stapley (20), was the youngest person to cross the stage at the Open University’s degree ceremony recently.

Nicola joined 450 students to receive a BA (Hons) degree at the ceremony held at The Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow.

Paul Robertson of Longside

Paul Robertson of Longside

Nicola turned to The Open University after studying for two years for Primary School teaching with Aberdeen University, before realising teaching wasn’t the career for her.

She subsequently took a job as an administrator with Peterhead Offshore Supply Base but was keen not to waste the learning she had undertaken. A colleague suggested she could study part-time, while working and get credit transfer for her previous studies.

Nicola undertook two level 3 courses with the OU in October 2010 and finished her studies in December 2011.

Speaking after the ceremony, Nicola said: “I chose to study with the Open University as it meant I would be able to work and study at the same time.

“I didn’t want the studying I had done so far to go to waste. I would fully recommend the Open University to young people who would like to work and study at the same time, people who have credit from previous study that they are not using, or even just people who would like to gain further qualifications but are not 100 % sure in what or where to start as you can pick modules one at a time as they interest you.”

Nicola was joined by fellow graduate Paul Robertson (37), from Longside who was awarded a BSc degree.

Paul a former pupil of Meethill Primary School and Peterhead Academy, started studying with The Open University in 2003 as a hobby.

As he enjoyed the challenge and learning experience, he enrolled for further courses.

During his studies there were many life changes and challenges, including the birth of his two sons, several house moves and caring for his father who suffered with cancer and sadly passed away.

Paul says of his father’s death: “This motivated me even more to succeed and make my family proud.

“The Open University has given me a direction and a desire to succeed in life.”

Speaking at the ceremony, Dr James Miller, The Open University in Scotland’s Director, said: “Graduation is a very special occasion where students, like Nicola and Paul are formally recognised for their achievements in front of family and friends.

“Studying with the OU requires determination and self-discipline, as students manage their own schedules, often juggling academic work with a regular job and family commitments.

“We’re proud to celebrate their success on this inspiring day.