South Yorkshire sailor’s war zone exams

Andy Murray, 46, from Rotherham Yorkshire, studied with the OU while on active duty serving in the Royal Navy. He is pictured at his graduation with his son, Jake. Picture: Open University
Andy Murray, 46, from Rotherham Yorkshire, studied with the OU while on active duty serving in the Royal Navy. He is pictured at his graduation with his son, Jake. Picture: Open University
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A South Yorkshire man who studied for his degree while on board a Royal Navy ship in war zones has achieved a career transformation.

Andy Murray sat Open University exams while aboard the HMS Iron Duke in Kosovo, and has friends who filled in their exam papers while in submarines in the Arctic Circle.

The father-of-two, from Thurcroft, Rotherham, is now working as an engineer and is raising awareness of how part-time study can transform your career.

The 46-year-old said: “Some of the places I did the OU exams were quite extraordinary. In 1999, I did one of my exams aboard the HMS Iron Duke in Kosovo - we were off the Kosovan Coast and assisting with the humanitarian crisis.

“You have to do your exams at the exact time you would have to do them in the UK. The officers on board were really supportive towards my study.”

Andy credits the OU in part for his inquisitive nature and broadened horizons.

He said: “I didn’t do as much at school as I should have. I did my engineering diploma in the Navy, which I joined when I was 19.

“When I started doing maths again as part of this, I suddenly realised I wasn’t that bad. My advisor at the time said I should do more and recommended the OU, and so that was it. It developed from there.”

Andy - who is supported by wife Mig, aged 39, and children Jake, aged 10, and Stacey, 19 - now works as a gas turbine engineer for a company in Lincoln, completing projects in such places as India, the North Sea and South America.

He said: “Travel is the best part of the job and no day is ever the same. The great part is that I do get quite a bit of time at home too, which I can spend with my family. Where I am now is in part thanks to my study - I did this anywhere, at any time, and others can too. You could be on top of Mount Everest and you can make it work for you.”

n Find out more about the Open University’s ‘Life-changing Learning’ at www.open.ac.uk