A Peterhead-based oil worker has cause for a double celebration this week as he graduated with a Master’s degree, which was attended by his father-in-law who has recently recovered from a life-threatening illness.
Paul Ward’s original graduation celebrations in 2011 were cut short when his father-in-law, who was due to come to the ceremony, was diagnosed with a brain haemorrhage.
He has since been through a long period of recovery and was Paul’s guest of honour as he graduated from Robert Gordon University (RGU) with an MSc Commercial Practice for the Energy Sector at the Beach Ballroom on Tuesday, December 5.
“When my father in law became seriously ill shortly before the graduation ceremonies were to begin, this was a real blow to the whole family,” Paul said.
“I am pleased to say that my father in law pulled though the difficult surgery and the subsequent long rehabilitation and will be able to attend this graduation event with my wife and family who have assured me that this will be a double-celebration for us both.”
Paul, who hails from Hamilton in South Lanarkshire but now lives in Peterhead with his wife, has been working in the energy sector and decided it was time to change his career, staying in the same industry.
“I was originally employed within the oil and gas industry as an HSE advisor and began a career change to a contracts specialist within the supply chain department.
“I felt that this university course offered me the most relevant training for a commercial role within the oil and gas industry and the opportunity to complete the course in a distance learning format was marvellous.
“I can honestly say that during my time here at Robert Gordon University I truly had no need to attend the university in person as everything was provided within the online portal and I wish that this format had been available to me years ago. The flexible delivery of this course has allowed me to keep my work and family commitments while allowing me to achieve a Master’s degree.”
Paul, who gained his degree with distinction believes he was quite late in life to step into higher education and believes part of his success was down to the flexibility of the learning offered at RGU.
“Because of my late start I never believed that I have could have achieved a Master’s degree and I know that I would not have been able to achieve this without the wonderful distance learning delivery platform provided by the University.
“I think it is important for others to know - especially within the current decline in oil and das within Aberdeen - that courses like this are run by the local Universities and that people can achieve a career change later in life in this manner without sacrificing your salary or working commitments.
“I feel that this is the biggest hurdle for a career change in later life as many people would not wish to leave work to attend a University full time and this flexible delivery offers the best of both worlds.”
Paul is now enjoying his new role within the industry and is looking to his next challenge, which may involve returning for further study.
“I can honestly say that the course was so enjoyable to complete, I am realistically thinking about studying further at Robert Gordon University…although I may give myself a few years off!”
by Rob Smith
Press and Media Enquiries