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Improve Your Prospects through New OU Courses

Derek Stillie

The Open University has built its reputation on being able to offer busy professionals the chance to study for qualifications while working, whenever and wherever that work takes them.

When former Wigan Athletic and Dundee United goalkeeper Derek Stillie (pictured left) decided he needed to prepare for the day he’d hang up his keeper’s gloves, the OU had just launched another new programme – in Law.

Derek completed his OU Law degree around daily training sessions and match commitments and is now about to start a new career as a solicitor.

He says:

“When I started people who studied were few and far between but attitudes are changing. People are becoming aware of how precarious a career it is in football, and how you need to prepare for life after.”

The OU has always been a popular choice for footballers. Ipswich Town captain Jason de Vos and former football managers Dave Sexton and Craig Brown are also among the OU’s graduate hall of fame.

Now the launch of a new range of sports and fitness courses and qualifications should add to its appeal, particularly among those footballers wanting to give themselves as many future options as possible while they pursue professional careers.

An Introduction to Sport, Fitness and Management is aimed at anyone aspiring towards a coaching or management role, or considering a career in the fitness industry.

Alternatively, for those who prefer to dip a toe in the water first, the OU is also offering a 20-week introductory course Exploring Sport Online.

Both courses are part of a programme which will build each year. The Foundation Degree programme is being delivered in collaboration with YMCA Fitness Industry Training and, because 50% of its content is geared to students studying in their current workplace, it is a perfect fit with the demands of a football apprenticeship.

Already fans include Simon Dwight, Head of Education and Welfare for Watford Academy who says:

“It makes no difference where you are – you might start at MK Dons and be sold to Liverpool, then to Manchester City, and you can still take your study with you. That’s why the OU is a more favourable option for sportspeople.”

For more details see the website: or phone 0845 300 60 90 to request a copy of the leaflet Foundation Degree in Sport, Fitness and Health.

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