Matt Pointon is a Project Officer working in the unionlearn Strategy team, before starting with unionlearn Matt worked with the BSU’s ULF project and attended a number of learning events – one resulted in Matt following a long desire to study towards a Masters degree.
I signed up for an MA in Creative Writing at the unionlearn conference 2016 which I attended as a project worker for the BSU (Britannia Staff Union) Youlearn project. I had wanted to do an MA for many years but always thought that the costs were prohibitive.”
Staff at the Open University stand at the conference explained to Matt how it could be affordable, and the overall cost was lower than he had anticipated. Matt was supported by his manager Vikki Powell.
Matt felt this would be a chance to study something he loved doing, as he explained:
I wanted to do something that I enjoy rather than something directly related to learning as I believe that learning should be about our passions rather than seen through the narrow prism of employability.”
Learning for pleasure is something that Matt feels is seen as less important in further education recently, and he feels that the union learning route is one of the few which offers opportunities based on a person’s learning wants as well as their employment needs.
Matt talked about the reason that he decided to sign up for the OU MA. Matt said:
I have been writing creatively since 2000. I initially started soon after the death of my father and it was cathartic. Now that is not the case but I continue to write for pleasure. I have written novels, travelogues, spiritual and local history works but my specialism is the short story. This is what I focussed on in the MA.”
He has found the course a huge benefit, as he explains:
I learnt lots of new techniques and have thought about my writing more maturely, thus improving it as a result of what I have learned on the MA. Although I did not do it for employability reasons, I did get a different role while studying it – my current role on the unionlearn staff – and it has been useful to me in my job as I have delivered creative writing workshops across the country supporting ULF projects.”
These sessions have proved popular with the projects Matt is supporting and he is using his skills to inspire others to try creative writing.
Mark Robinson from PCS said:
Matt’s session for PCS members was very interactive and engaging. Matt’s delivery is concise, effective and take accounts of all learning styles. It has helped to inspire staff to look at creative writing and competitions are in the process of being arranged.”
Matt sums up by saying:
When I arrived at the unionlearn conference that morning, I never believed that I would end up signing up for an MA. However, I’m really glad that I did as my writing has now improved immensely.”
I can really say that union learning has changed my life here. I never thought I would be able to put the letters MA after my name, nor that I would end up working for unionlearn. Both are an absolute honour.”