Verge meets: Henrie Kwushue

In the last couple of years, we have seen a rise in young entrepreneurs and people wanting to make a change. Open University have embraced this trend as studying in your own time allows you to pursue your business venture or side hustle.

Open University’s latest campaign ‘Generation Change: Ones to watch’ includes interviews with some inspirational Open University alumni and highlights the successes of some amazing, entrepreneurial students.

We caught up with Henrie Kwushue, the face of the campaign, to find out more. Check out the video here or read the interview below.

Andre: Hey it’s Andre from Verge Magazine and I’m proud to be joined by my friend, presenter, DJ, content creator and all-around superstar talent, Henrie Kwushue – how are you today?

Henrie: Thank you so much, I’m very well. That was such a nice introduction.

 

Andre: We won’t tell them how many times I did it.

Henrie: Enough times. Do not worry about it!

 

Andre: So how are you today? How have you been?

Henrie: I’m feeling really good, I’ve been at work today. I’m just enjoying life, enjoying what I’m doing. So, yeah, feeling good. How are you?

 

Andre: Ah well you know what, the sun is coming out, its officially kind of spring-ish. No one knows whether to put the puffer jackets and the coats back in the cupboard just yet. I’ve been caught out a few times when I thought it was nice. I haven’t gone to the shorts yet but, ah you know, I’m just in summer training at the moment.

Henrie: It’s going to be shorts time very soon, don’t you worry.

 

Andre: So Henrie’s teamed up with Open University for their latest campaign – ‘Generation Change: Ones to Watch’ which includes interviews with some inspirational Open University alumni and highlights the success of some of their amazing, entrepreneurial students. So Henrie, like tell us a bit about this campaign, and how you got involved.

Henrie: So, its exactly what you said, it’s ‘MTV Generation Change’ and the ‘Open University’s ones to watch’ which highlights some incredible students from the Open University and alumni who, alongside their degree at the Open University, are doing some fabulous things. It’s so great that as well as doing what they are doing on the outside – such as advocating for disability rights – they are actually getting a degree as well and having the degree fit in and around their lives.

As someone who has gone to uni, I had to really think, do I go to uni or do I try to focus on a career? This is what attracted me [to this campaign] because here are people who are doing everything at once and I just thought that was great.

 

Andre: Well, honestly its just such a good thing you got involved, you’re an inspiration for a lot of youth and you’re a bit of an entrepreneur yourself. You’ve got your own production company, a podcast, and a resident slot at Kiss FM, that’s a heavy resume to slap down! But, why do you think it’s important for students to have a space to explore, other ambitions?

Henrie: I look at where I am now and I can do further education if I want to. I remember when I was eighteen, I didn’t think I could do everything I wanted at once; I have to study and then I have to work, but now I could see how uni can fit around what I do. So I think that its really important for students in general to know what their the options are – the option to be flexible actually does exist.

I think the world looks at education and vocation in one way, whereas at Open University no matter where you are you’re able to merge those two things together, marrying them, and it’s still fun and you still get to live your life. The idea of that to me was just mind blowing and I love the fact that the Open University is showing us these people who have been able to combine both vocation and education and it goes stunningly for them.

 

Andre: The great thing about that is a lot of people get into careers that they hadn’t really chosen which they figure out somehow or other. It’s really great that there’s a pathway for people to be able to change careers, train up, and get the qualifications for the thing they’re really passionate about doing, which is so important in this world. So, can you tell us about Carly?

Henrie: So, Carly has a vegan business with her boyfriend. They decided to go vegan years back and wanted to start building a business that sold plant-based produce, she thought to herself “How can I add to what I’m doing? Like, I’ve got a company but how can I add more flare? How can I add more insight and more foresight into where my company’s going?”. So she started a degree at the OU and then her boyfriend saw that and said “yeah I’m gonna get in on this as well!” I just love the fact that you can be a full-on entrepreneur but not have to put your business to the side to be able to pursue an education. I love the fact that the Open University makes the idea of doing both not so foreign, there’s literally people out there that are growing their business at the same time as being at the Open University.

When you see stuff like that, you’re proper impressed at how they’re able to just do it all with no fear, no doubt, no matter who you are, where you are, what you’re doing, you can do your course online you can access everything online and still be able to live your life as normal.

 

Andre: I mean it sounds like the candidates that you’re speaking to, they can actually teach us something, we should be in the class with them teaching us!

Henrie: It just shows you that nothing is off-limits. I don’t know about you, I used to think that I had to put things on hold but seeing these guys proves you don’t have to put your dreams on hold for nothing. Again, it doesn’t matter where you are.

I think it was Carly talking to me about how she accesses her lecturers and how she talks to her tutors as well, that they’re available at any time. Even talking to students via online can help so many different people with different types of lifestyles.

 

Andre: It’s such a massive opportunity for people to work with Open University. Salute to them again. What advice would you give to young people who want to make that change but don’t know where to start?

Henrie: I’ve been asked so many times by young people, when I started out in my career all the way up until now, “Henrie do I go to uni or do I not?” and at the time I didn’t really have an answer for them, but knowing and understanding and learning about the Open University through each contributor’s story shows me that you don’t have to make a choice. Literally your options and the future are limitless, and I love that.

 

Andre: Obviously, technology has changed the world so rapidly, but how do you think the world has changed over the last few years and since the pandemic and how do you think it affects the way we study and get our careers launched?

Henrie: That’s a very, very, very good question.

 

Andre: That’s what I’m here for!

Henrie: It’s true though. But with the Open University knowing and understanding that everything is accessible online, and on the go, and no matter where you are and no matter what you’re doing, in a pandemic that must feel incredible because its just like everything is where it needs it to be.

So obviously life has changed where it comes to the pandemic and post pandemic because a lot more people are on their phones anyway, a lot more people are accessing so many different things from their phones and from their laptops; and I’m just thinking why can’t university be the same?

 

Andre: Do you feel like the education system has changed enough to be able to show that there are alternative options to the standard path of school and university?

Henrie: Maybe there are some things that can be changed, but genuinely I think that’s where knowing about the Open University is so important and you can see why they wanted to create this. You can see why they wanted to talk about these three incredible students and alumni who are a part of that change that we need to see, where you don’t have to be confined to four walls, you don’t have to be confined to a lecture, you don’t have to be confined to two-hundred and fifty students in one room, you don’t even have to be confined to a city really and truly! You can do whatever you like, and I think that although there might be things that do need to change with the outside education system, I think that with things like this, where people get to see these students doing what they’re doing and doing it well, I think that’s a change we need to see.

 

Andre: We’re going to put the books, learning and the studying aside for one second and I’m going to lean on your cool factor and ask which podcast, series, Netflix or Disney+ show are you watching at the moment?

Henrie: I don’t want to sound vein, but I am listening to my own podcast ‘Who We Be Talks’ on Spotify.

 

Andre: We did not line that up people, we did not line that up.

Henrie: I also keep rewatching The Office US version, I love it so much, I think it’s hilarious, I think its wit at its height.

 

Andre: And finally, I’m going to ask you the most important thing for my playlist: I need a song that is out now that we’re going to be listening to the whole summer.

Henrie: I’ve got two songs for you. I’ve got Aitch with “Baby”, that’s such a good song it is bringing back nostalgia, its got an Ashanti sample on there, which is what we like to see; and Digga D “Pumped 101” is also a great song – very, very good, and just in case you like Afrobeats just like tap into the “Amapiano” world, a lot is going on there too.

 

Andre: Henrie, its been amazing to be able to speak to you and obviously a side note, I’ve done some work with Henrie before, and Henrie took her time to be able to speak to everyone, and being cool with everyone, giving everyone the time of day, and you know, it doesn’t matter what qualifications you get, being nice and being approachable is the most important thing and I’d just like to salute you, Henrie, for your career. You’re definitely an inspiration to the Verge readership and the Verge viewers and we definitely appreciate your time.

Henrie: Thank you so much for having me, this has been so much fun. And I hope to work with you again soon.

 

Andre: Oh, that will definitely happen. So, for those who live on the moon, that haven’t heard of you, where can they find you?

Henrie: You can find me on Instagram as Henrie with an “ie” and Viii like Henry the eighth and that’s me everywhere.

 

Andre: And please check out below all the information on the Open University’s campaign ‘Generation Change: Ones to Watch. Until then, peace!

 

Follow Henrie at: @henrieviii

Find out more about “Generation Change: Ones to watch’ here.

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