Julie Mainwood, Transition Linlithgow - Historic Scotland
Wanting to change her career after 20 years in financial services, Julie started studying for an OU degree in Environmental Studies in 2004. Soon after graduating in 2011, she got a part-time job as an administration assistant with Transition Linlithgow.
Although she’d lived in the area for six years, Julie had never felt fully part of the community. Now she’s working for projects based in the town, she meets local residents and feels she’s doing something positive for her area. She’s also become a volunteer ranger with Historic Scotland, helping out with practical conservation work and wildlife surveys around Linlithgow Loch.
Key employability skills
The move from a very formal, procedure-led working environment to a more flexible organisational structure based mainly on volunteering has been a challenging transition for Julie. However, she finds that skills gained from studying with the OU have helped her in her new role.
When I explained the reasons behind my degree, they realised I was quite serious about making a career change and they were glad to have someone with quite a lot of knowledge on the subject in the organisation. It was definitely the fact that I was studying the Environment that made me attractive to them as an organisation.
The content of the courses I have studied so far make larger issues relevant to how you as an individual or a town can influence or impact the environment. It’s good to be able to do something which you feel can make a positive contribution to the place you live.
I am now a lot more knowledgeable about different issues relating to the Environment including huge issues such as climate change. The learning has given me knowledge to be able to speak to people coming in to the centre about these kinds of problems, understand the obstacles to things being done differently and discuss what the potential solutions are. This skill of conversing with people about these issues has come directly from my studies with the OU.