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John O'Sullivan

Maynooth, Ireland

BA (Hons) Applied Investigation

John O’Sullivan returned to education after 30 years with the intention of developing himself on both a professional and personal level. Studying on the BA (Hons) Applied Investigation course has pushed him out of his comfort zone and subsequently helped him achieve a promotion at work to Senior Investigating Officer, where he’s now putting his newly acquired skills into practice.

I was working full-time and wanted to upskill and develop myself, both professionally and personally. The University of Sunderland was recommended to me by a colleague at work – he told me the University was “human”, not daunting, and that he found the staff to be approachable and helpful. Coming onto campus for my face-to-face lectures, I found his advice to be accurate. I’d not studied in a very long time, and I was nervous, but everyone I dealt with was supportive, and I didn’t feel out of place at all.

The part of the BA (Hons) Applied Investigation course that stood out to me the most was completing and submitting a professional development plan. This really brought me out of my comfort zone and forced me to look inside my thoughts and ways of working. I gave myself to it, and I got so much out of it. My experience on the course has left me hungry for education and I intend to further myself in this area.

I recently got promoted at work – I’m now a Senior Investigating Officer for the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC). My success in my studies certainly played a role in this advancement, as the degree has helped me to manage people more effectively, identifying what their traits are and what they may respond to. In time, once I’ve gained a full understanding of my new post, I might look at advancing further within my career.

To anyone thinking of coming to study here at Sunderland, I’d say go for it. I was part-time and hadn’t studied for 30 years. It was rewarding, empowering, and I felt a sense of ownership that I was studying on my own terms. Find a course you’re interested in, and it won’t feel like work at all – I found myself looking forward to researching my subjects. I’ve had a very positive experience and it’s really boosted my confidence.”

Published 9 February 2023

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