Jonathan Smith - BA (Hons) Business degree.



Jonathan Smith (20), from Thame near Oxford, joined RDI in January 2013 to study for a BA (Hons) Business degree.

“I left college in 2010 with A Levels in History, Politics and Economics. Going to university wasn’t even a consideration for me. My friends were at home, I didn’t want to be burdened with debt and I wanted to get straight into a career.

“I’m now doing a degree on my terms, in a way that suits me.”

Jonathan’s first step was doing a Business and Administration Apprenticeship with Oxfordshire County Council. While working as a medical administrator, he studied for a Level 4 Diploma and after 12 months had valuable workplace experience and a clearer career path ahead.

“I’d done so well at work that they kept me on and I moved into a new full time position in Payroll and HR. After six months getting settled into my new role, I was financially stable and ready to progress my career with a degree. I didn’t want to give up what I’d achieved to go to university so distance learning was an appealing choice for me.”

Jonathan researched options and selected a BA (Hons) Business degree with RDI, accredited by Anglia Ruskin University. His first experience of online learning is going well.

“I was worried that the processes would be difficult – like submitting work and using the materials - but I’ve just completed my induction and it’s been great. Everything is in one place and step-by-step guides to everything, from topic discussion forums to how to do assessments and referencing, have made getting into study very easy.

“The ilearn format is very interactive and for someone like me, who is used to socialising online anyway, it is second nature to have online discussions and conversations with fellow students. In fact, I will probably end up interacting more with people than I would if I were on campus.”

With his degree, Jonathan hopes to specialise in business leadership and continue building his career with Oxfordshire County Council. He’s confident in the choices he’s made regarding education but believes more could be done to make young people aware of the choices they have.

“When I got my A Levels, I was shocked at how little advice was available on options other than university. My friends and family were very supportive – I didn’t come up against social stigma, in fact people were impressed with my determination. Strangely, I think the stigma these days actually comes from within the system which is so wrong given the way the world has moved on.

“Everyone is different and education should reflect that. I’m glad I took the route I did and I think it is important that more people have the opportunity to study in a way that suits them.”

To find out more about distance learning and about the range of courses available from RDI, visit

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