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John has been a student with NEC for over three decades and is an amazing example of the fulfilment gained from embracing lifelong learning. He is currently studying our courses in Creative Writing and a Taste of Counselling.

John is a retired osteopath and at eighty-five years old, is one of our oldest and longest-standing students. John had always enjoyed learning and was frequently top of his class at school. However, John’s schooling was disrupted by evacuation in the Second World War and growing up in a poor and working-class area, he left school without any formal qualifications at the age of fifteen.

John rediscovered his love for learning in later life and joined NEC to improve his maths and English in 1983 to enable him to complete a distance learning degree with the Open University. John enjoyed completing his courses, all done “by snail mail”. Over the years, John has tried other distance learning colleges, but he has always returned to NEC because he could not fault our services. 

“I think the courses are very good, the support team good and the tutors excellent.”

John enjoys an active retirement and his academic pursuits fit well among his many other hobbies, such as walking, painting and astrology. For John, he is no longer studying for his career or for a particular goal, but studying for the sheer enjoyment of learning. The freedom to study a huge range of subjects with NEC means he has the opportunity to experience completely new things, such as ‘A Taste For Counselling’.

“I hope the course will add another string to my bow, and maybe lead to more courses.”

NEC offers academic courses, professional qualifications and creative courses without a formal assessment. John has completed both academic and creative courses with NEC and he was driven, throughout them all, by his insatiable passion for learning. John would encourage other people to pursue their own passion for learning, by studying with NEC, which is “very flexible and adaptable”. 

“Studying later was like a breath of fresh air.”

NEC was founded as a pilot to the Open University and we share the same mission to widen access to education through online distance education. Many of our students, like John, move on to higher education with the Open University and we are proud that we can work together to help our students transform their lives and careers through education.

John is an incredible example of lifelong learning and proof that it is never too late to try something new. Just as John says:

“I can’t stop now.”

Passion for learning can’t easily be extinguished and we hope we will see John again soon.

Interested in embracing lifelong learning? Looking to move on to university?

The Open University (OU) and The National Extension College (NEC) are working together to make progression from FE (further education) to HE (higher education) a lot more affordable.

Here is the offer: Current NEC students or alumni within three years of progressing their studies with NEC, will be eligible to claim a 10% discount on all Open University Level 1 undergraduate courses.

Online learning can open the doors to students of all ages and backgrounds, providing the flexibility and framework to achieve academic success.

More than 40% of NEC students plan on going on to university, with many choosing to study with the OU after achieving their GCSEs and A levels with NEC. This is a fantastic opportunity for all those students who appreciate the flexibility of distance learning and wish to continue their studies into higher education; whether it’s to pursue a career goal or simply just to study the subject you love.

How to receive 10% off your OU course

When you apply to the OU to study any Level 1 undergraduate distance learning course, NEC students and alumni need to provide their NEC student reference number as well as any further evidence of having studied with NEC that is requested by the Open University; such as a copy of the confirmation of enrolment email you first received once enrolled with NEC. NEC students and alumni must have either have completed a course within the last 3 years or have made significant progress on a course/s they are currently enrolled on for the discount to apply. This discount is subject to the OU’s normal terms and conditions.

Find out key dates and information on applying to the Open University here: https://www.open.ac.uk/courses/apply/key-dates

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