Case Study: Open University Students Association

In: Case StudyDate: Nov 16, 2021By: Claire Lickman

The OU Students Association is effectively the student union for the Open University with 40 staff alongside student volunteers responding to the needs of the 170,000 students.

"The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive for all the courses we’ve done at Happy," explains Nicola Powell, Training and Wellbeing Officer.

"The time management course especially worked for our student leaders and at a director level. It has changed the way we do things," explains  explains Nicola Powell, Training and Wellbeing Officer. "It has especially changed the way we use email. I have a so much more manageable inbox now. It is easier to go through and I don’t lose sight of things.

"You know those emails, which I used to have, that just go further down with people waiting for a response. That is now solved. I now have active and agile email. And those that didn’t go on the course have also picked up hints and tips from those who did.

"The Project Management course was especially useful for our President, Sarah. She is project managing two of our big upcoming events, including the Association’s 50th birthday celebrations. Sarah was very keen to have formal but accessible and engaging project management training and she got that with Happy.

"I had done the APM (Association for Project Management) Practitioner course a decade ago, so the course resonated well with me. The language was all the same. In a single day you managed to give them the tools to take away and be able to manage projects and use the language of a project manager. Giving them that confidence has been tremendous.

"It was so engaging. Your facilitator was so good at hearing people's thoughts. It was informal but formal enough to cover the learning. Yet we were not afraid to put our hands up and say, I missed that or can you explain that further. I really enjoyed it.

"Sarah also did the four-day Happy Workplace Leadership Programme. She found it extremely useful, and we will certainly be putting the new President, and Deputy President, onto the programme after our student leadership elections next year.

"It has been absolutely engaging and accessible training. Quite complex subjects, such as project management, are explained simply. And our account manager at Happy, Laura, is extremely good at reaching out. It is like she can read my mind.

"Above all your ethos fits with me and with the organisation. We want our student volunteers to be able to be their very best selves and develop in their roles, and that fits so well with Happy.

"The way you quickly pivoted to online was an absolute godsend. To be honest, I can’t think of any way in which you could do better."

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