There's hope even though you may have failed to obtain a university place. This is the message the latest batch of 2,300 graduates from the Open University of Hong Kong hope to get across to Secondary Seven students. Tse Kon-ping, 48, who has been with the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department for 26 years, has completed the Bachelor of Science in Applied Computing. Mr Tse said he left school after Form Three and got a job as a technical apprentice when he was 15 years old. He had realised his dream of becoming a degree-holder after eight years of study. 'In the 1960s, it was hard to get a place at local universities, not to mention continuing our studies abroad. 'Even though my work does not require university qualifications, I have enhanced my knowledge about information technology, which is related to my present job,' Mr Tse said. 'And the degree will be very useful because if I understand this area better than my colleagues, I will have a good chance of being promoted.' As his family's sole breadwinner, there were times at the beginning when he thought about giving it all up. He found the demands of his job, family and studies too much to handle. But he persevered and eventually succeeded. 'Having given up studies so many years ago, I found it diffi cult to concentrate again. And I had to pick up technical terms in English as well. 'I completed the course thanks to my family's support,' Mr Tse, a father of two, said. 'I was motivated to study because I wanted to act as a role-model for my daughters.' Tong Yu-kee, 49, obtained three degrees between 1990 and 1998 - a Bachelor of Business Administration, a Bachelor of Social Science and an MBA degree. Mr Tong, an internal auditor at a bank, said: 'They are of different levels. You may gain knowledge from undergraduate courses. But for my Master's degree, I mainly focused on training my mind to think and solve problems. I regard pursuing further knowledge as a challenge. 'You need to totally concentrate on your task, or you can't be a success. You also have to juggle your time judiciously between work, studying and family commitments.'