Welcoming Minister Lyons to The Open University, Director John D’Arcy said:
“We are delighted to welcome Minister Lyons to our offices to meet with our hard-working staff and students.
“Despite the obvious challenges presented to us over the last year, we are pleased that we have once again ranked no.1 university for Overall Student Satisfaction in Northern Ireland for the seventeenth year in a row in the National Student Survey (NSS)*.
“This year we were particularly delighted to be part of the “Skill Up” initiative, funded by the Department and the UK government, providing free short courses allowing people to reskill and retrain after the pandemic.
“I also welcome the Minister’s increased investment in developing our Community Partnership Programme. We see widening access to education as vital to giving people opportunities to fulfill their potential in life.
“We are proud to be leaders in delivering high-quality, flexible, supported distance learning where it is needed most.
Nursing student in attendance Leona O’Neill stated: “The Open university has given me a great opportunity to study and progress in my new career that’s flexible and fits around me. After being a travel agent for 15 years and a busy mum, I made the huge decision to go into healthcare. OU tutors are there every step of the way.2”
Minister Lyons said: “I am very pleased to visit the Open University’s facility in Belfast. OU has had a presence in Northern Ireland for decades, enabling thousands of people here to gain their degree in a way that suits their lifestyle. OU also offers a range of courses fully funded by my Department and the UK Government under the ‘Skill Up’ initiative, in a wide array of digital and tech areas. I commend the staff and student body at the OU for their achievements and dedication and wish them every success well into the future.”