To mark Higher Education Day, I spoke with Oli Galvin-Jones, Head of Sales at Pickauni.

Going back to the books

Returning to education following a break can be more than a little scary, and certainly overwhelming. Pickauni (  aim to promote and support those considering Higher Education, breaking down those barriers, dispelling popular myths and misconceptions and supporting people on their HE journey.

So, a lot of similarities to what we’re doing here at Moxi Recruitment, and that’s why we’re always keen to hear about the pioneering work Pickauni are doing here in the UK!

Contemplating Higher Education

Once you think you might want to go into Higher Education, there are a lot of different things to consider, and several potential barriers to overcome. “The biggest barrier of all,” says Oli, “is the misconception about routes into University. Many universities will accept relevant work experience, as opposed to the traditional 3 A Levels.” This is something even we at Moxi had no idea about, prior to our chat with Oli.

“A great example of where this works very well,” Oli continues, “is within the health and social care sector. Somebody with just a couple of years of experience in health and social care would be accepted onto a course, which would give them a solid foundation for becoming a registered manager for instance.

“There is an interview process, where you would discuss your experience, why you’d like to do the course, and what your career plan looks like, and this is really to be sure, in your own mind, that HE is the right route for you. In all likelihood, your passion for your subject will shine through, and that’s what universities are really looking for!

“There is also lots of flexibility with university courses, and this is something that the people we speak with are not always aware of. Not all courses are 5 days a week, and no longer are all courses based in large lecture halls with 100s of students. Nowadays, there are much smaller groups, meaning courses are so much more interactive and inclusive.”

In the space Moxi and our partner EdStart Schools operate in, this is music to our ears. Creating a more intimate, nurturing and supportive educational environment where children and young people of all abilities can thrive. Including those with special educational needs, SEMH (Social, Emotional and Mental Health) difficulties, autistic spectrum disorder, other neurodiverse conditions such as ADHD, dyslexia and dyspraxia, or affected by childhood trauma.

All part of the learning journey

I read an excellent post on LinkedIn the other day by Malcolm Press CBE, the Vice-Chancellor at Manchester Metropolitan University. In it, he speaks eloquently and passionately about the benefits a degree can bring to an individual, and the power of education to transform our society, so I thought I’d share a passage with you.

“A degree, through whichever route it’s gained, delivers a whole range of financial and non-financial benefits. Graduates are better off, overtaking those who chose not to go to university within just a few years. They earn at least 20% more once they are in their mid-20s and, by age 31, graduates typically earn 37% more. The gap is slightly higher for those from economically deprived areas.

“But studying for a university degree is not just about what you go on to earn. It is the passion for the subject, the learning journey, the life experience, the networks and the friendships, all of which are valued so much by young people. We should never underestimate the importance of non-financial benefits, ranging from better health, wellbeing and quality of life, to greater civic engagement and more tolerant attitudes.

“Education is the biggest lever we can turn to transform society and students are at the heart of this.”

Challenging people’s perceptions

When Oli and the Pickauni team speak to people about going to university, they’re often told ‘I can’t, it’s not for me’. “There are a number of reasons as to why people think they can’t”, elaborates Oli, “and, often, the team can share information that challenges people’s perceptions. If it’s something that may need a little more work, such as English skills, our team collaborates with a range of partners who can support, where Pickauni will signpost to. They never say ‘no’; there’s always a plan that can be put into place.”

Celebrating diversity

“One of the best things about the people we speak to,” confirms Oli, “is their diversity, in every conceivable way, including their different nationalities, backgrounds – both cultural and educational – and their ambitions and aspirations for the future. No two candidates we speak to are ever the same, and this is something we celebrate, here at Pickauni.”

Seek advice

So, what guidance would Oli give to somebody considering a course in Higher Education? “Get advice. Come and speak with us. We know it’s a big decision; it’s an investment you’ll be making in yourself and your career. Don’t be put off by stories and experiences other people may have had.”

Throughout my conversation with Oli, he was keen to stress that completing a Higher Education course will help you both personally and professionally. You will meet with like-minded people, with at least one common interest – the course you’re on! University isn’t just about Freshers’ Week. It’s people with similar interests, goals and aspirations all coming together through education and the various social groups which run on campus. You will find your tribe!

And the final piece advice from Oli? “Getting a degree or higher education qualification will never hinder you, it will only help!”

How can Moxi help?

Our introductory Teaching Assistant programme is one of the ways in which we can help you prepare for Higher Education. This intensive course is designed to open your eyes to teaching as a career, and prepare you to face the classroom with maximum confidence.

Previous trainees have progressed to teacher training and enrolled on PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) courses at Universities throughout the UK, whilst others have worked their way up in schools to become unqualified teachers, qualified teachers and even Heads of School.

For more information, and to find out how Moxi Recruitment can help you, call me today on 0300 303 4414, send an email to or visit and leave a message. I can’t wait to hear from you!