LOCAL MSP Gil Paterson wished the Open University a happy 50th birthday.

The institution, which specialises in distance learning courses for people who are still in work or looking to get back in education, reached the milestone this week.

According to records gained by Mr Paterson’s office, there are currently 150 people in his constituency enrolled with the Open University (OU), with the majority of them studying STEM subjects.

The figures also showed 74 per cent of people are currently still in work, and 50 per cent have turned to the OU as a way to boost the development of their own career.

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Around 65 per cent of students enrolled in the Clydebank area have also benefitted from a part time fee grant from the education funding body SAAS, meaning they earn less than £25,000, but are still looking to take on further study.

Mr Paterson told the Post: “The Open University is truly unique in that you don’t need any entrance qualifications for most of the courses and course structure in incredibly flexible.

“People live with a wide variety of personal circumstances, so it is not always possible for some individuals to study at a traditional university.

“The fact that OU students don’t have to go to the university because the university comes to them makes the difference for some people between being able to access a high-quality education and being stuck where they are.”