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OU student Alan Campbell explores career

UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL 22.04.16: 00.00

Almost half of us experience a ‘life crisis’
The Open University urges us to pursue our dreams

· Unfulfilled dreams and ambitions top list of ‘life crisis’ causes

· A fulfilling career and taking up interests key to overcoming ‘life crisis’


London, 22 April 2016: Almost half (44%) of the British public have either had or are going through a ‘life crisis’, a poll recently commissioned by The Open University reveals today. To help people restore their personal balance, The Open University is urging people to discover their ‘Plan P - their ‘Passion Plan’ - and realise their unfulfilled ambitions.

However, it’s not just those midway through their lives who have suffered a ‘life crisis’ and need to re-ignite their passions. Almost a third of those surveyed (29%) have been through a ‘life crisis’ between the ages of 18 and 30, suggesting millennials are particularly susceptible.

When asked what factors caused their ‘life crisis’, a lack of career fulfilment and unfulfilled dreams topped the list. To combat this, 39% said embarking on a new career would help solve their issues and 24% said learning something new would have the same effect.

Whilst over two thirds of those surveyed wish they spent more time pursuing their personal passions, 27% don’t think they have time to do so, with long hours of work and social pressures swallowing up free time. One in ten of those surveyed do not have any personal passions or interests outside of their career, however 41% said that taking up a new interest or hobby would help address their ‘life crisis’.

As a result, The Open University is today urging people to explore their interests by learning something new or pursuing further study in order to address the issues associated with their ‘life crises’, start realising their ambitions and to discover their ‘Plan P’.

Clare Riding, Head of Careers and Employability Services at The Open University said: “Almost two fifths (39%) of people cited embarking on a new career as a solution to their ‘life crisis’ so whilst finding a career you love can be challenging, it is also deeply rewarding. Taking time to explore your interests, both in and out of work, will help you to realise your career ambitions and will support you in finding the role that’s right for you.”

“Hockey is a real passion of mine,” Helen Richardson-Walsh, Olympic hockey player and OU student commented, “But it’s not my only interest in life. I love psychology and wanted to pursue my passions outside of my sporting career so couldn’t wait to begin my BSc with The Open University. I know I won’t be playing hockey for Britain forever so when the time is right I wanted to be ready to activate my ‘Plan P’ – and I now am, thanks to my OU degree.”

Alan Campbell, Olympic rower and Open University student said, “As an athlete there will come a time that you can no longer compete at international standard, so there has to be something beyond sport. Not only this but in a high pressure, competitive career such as elite sport, you need to have other passions that keep your mind alert and focused outside of work. Rio 2016 will be my last Olympics but this isn’t a year of endings for me, it’s a year of beginnings too. I will complete my BA (Hons) in Leadership and Management with The Open University this year and can’t wait to see what new journey this will take me on.”

“The Open University changed my life,” Victoria Ann Trull, trainee teacher and OU graduate said, "I didn't choose the right degree when I left school but having some more time, and getting more life experience, helped me to better understand what I wanted to do. Thanks to The Open University, I was able to study something I'm really passionate about - physics - and I can't wait to start teaching this full time."


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For further information, please contact:
Lexis
Emily Tanner: etanner@lexisagency.com 020 7908 6406
Laura Bates: lbates@lexisagency.com 020 7908 6450

Notes to Editors
Unless otherwise credited, statistics included were sourced from a survey of 1,000 UK adults, carried out by Morar in February 2016 on behalf of The Open University.

About The Open University:
· The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 1.8 million students and has almost 180,000 current students, including more than 15,000 overseas.


· The OU was given an overall satisfaction rating of 90% in the latest National Student Survey, making it one of only three Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to consistently score 90% or above every year since 2007. Over 70% of students are in full-time or part-time employment, and four out of five FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU courses.


· In the latest assessment exercise for university research (Research Excellence Framework, 2014), nearly three quarters (72%) of The Open University’s research was assessed as 4 or 3 star – the highest ratings available – and awarded to research that is world-leading or internationally excellent. The Open University is unique among UK universities having both an access mission and demonstrating research excellence.


· The OU has a 42 year partnership with the BBC and has moved from late-night lectures in the 1970s to co-producing prime-time series such as The Hunt, Life Story, The Bottom Line, Britain’s Great War, I Bought a Rainforest and Business Boomers. In 2013/14 OU co-productions were viewed by 220m people in the UK which prompted more than 600k visits the OU’s free learning website, OpenLearn. (http://www.open.edu/openlearn/).


· Regarded as Britain’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units on OpenLearn, which received 5.2million unique visitors in 2012/13, and materials on iTunes U, which has recorded more than 66 million downloads.


· For further information please visit: www.open.ac.uk

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