Barry Weldon, IRO graduate.

Barry Weldon
Conductor, ScotRail

Barry has graduated from the certificate level of our academic programme in Railway Operations Management in November 2016.

We caught up with Barry who explained how he came to study on the academic programme and the support he was given throughout his study.

Can you tell us about how you came to study the certificate level?

I worked in the airline industry for many years with just my Scottish Standard Grades and no Scottish Highers, so for me, there was always a missing element of academia. I always wanted to go to university, but I used to think that I was ‘too stupid’ to do it. However, a couple of years ago I found out that I’m dyslexic, so initially I studied a few courses through the Union learning programmes with a goal to progress on to the IRO GCU academic programme. Thankfully, I managed make the latter happen through the support of the IRO and GCU.

I was also awarded an IRO scholarship which made my ambition to study on the academic programme become a reality. When I applied to study I was working in a booking office role, so the financial support from the IRO towards the cost of my studies was a huge help.

For many years you have taken an active role in promoting inclusion and the opportunities for those who have learning difficulties. What advice would you like to give those who might feel their learning difficulties would hold them back from studying on the academic programme?

You have absolutely nothing to lose, but in the long term you have everything to gain. You can change your career and move on to jobs that you never thought were possible.

You will have all the support you need from the Tutors, and the University are even able to provide computer software to support you with reading, essay writing and more. The assistive technology I was provided with was brilliant as I used it to have my computer read my essays, reports and research aloud. This made it a lot easier for me as I was able to study in a way that best suited me.

You only have one shot at being here, so you might as well make yourself the best person you can be while you’re here!

What was your favourite module of the certificate level?

For me, the PPD module where I learnt about academic writing, referencing and learning styles was very useful. The information and skills that I learnt can be applied to work outside of the rail industry, and I also felt that this module provided me some of skills that I was missing from not having studied the Scottish Higher English qualification.

How did it feel to graduate from the certificate level after all of the hard work that you had put into your studies?

The graduation ceremony gave me a great feeling – it was euphoric. When I first began my studies I struggled with academic writing, and I thought that completing the course would be something that would never happen. To be able to go to university as an adult and complete the course gave me the chance to do what I had wanted to do since leaving school. My Mum and Dad were at the graduation ceremony too, so it was great to be able to share that moment with them.


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