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Harrie Austin-Jones

“From construction to law … thanks to the OU I’ve changed career”

Harrie Austin-Jones is living proof that, whatever your existing qualifications and background, your dream career isn’t as far away as you might think.

The Open University gave Harrie the confidence he needed to thrive in a professional environment.

Today, studying at the Inns of Court College of Advocacy, he says the OU changed his life in every way imaginable

“My Open University Bachelor of Laws degree gave me access to a world I never thought I’d be able to enter. The legal profession seemed a long way away for someone with slightly dodgy A-levels and a career working in the construction industry. Yet here I am,” said Harrie – who was in fact crowned Student of the Year in The Open University Student Achievement Awards 2020

Flexibility and distance learning made the OU perfect for me

Previously working as a General Manager at Gray Plant Hire Ltd, Harrie is now about to start practising as a pupil barrister. 

Harrie chose the OU as a stepping stone to achieving his dreams as it suited him better than any other higher education setting.

“The Open University offered me the flexibility to continue working whilst giving me the chance to swap into a new career,” said Harrie – who once tried to enter the Olympics playing table tennis.

“I also have a couple of conditions which can cause me some issues when working or studying so it was good to remain at home rather than enter a campus environment.  

“Overall, the experience of studying with the OU was brilliant. Specifically, the tutors are wonderful and without them I wouldn’t have considered the pathway I’m now on.

“The Open University gave me confidence in myself which may be applied to any professional environment.”“My OU studies changed my life in every way possible,” said Harrie.

“Following my OU degree, I was able to undertake a Master’s degree at one of the best institutions in the world – outside of the OU of course.

I have also succeeded in obtaining pupillage with QEB Hollis Whiteman in criminal law to start in September 2022.”

The OU changed my life

To anyone thinking of OU study, Harrie has some words of wisdom to share. He said: “Do it, it will change your life! Be prepared to work hard though, it is a journey with many ups and downs!” “Very few people have everything go smoothly especially if they’re career switchers like I was.

My top tips are to always find someone to talk to (peers, family etc.); remember that social media is a benefit and a burden and it is ok to take a break from it; don’t panic and keep marching forward, you never know what’s around the corner.”