Former construction worker Simon Ip Wai-ming decided to switch from hard physical work to academic studies after witnessing an industrial accident involving a colleague. In 1995, Mr Ip was site supervisor on a water main project when he saw a co-worker's legs sliced off by a whiplashing cable. 'I said to myself I had to leave the industry for a more office-based job. Outdoor work is too harsh and too dangerous,' he said. He had enrolled in the Open University in 1990, gaining a degree in computing four years later. After graduating, he joined the Airport Authority as a computer engineer until 1998, when the projects for the new airport were completed. The 38-year-old father of two is now a lecturer in computing and drafting at the Construction Industry Training Authority. But he has not stopped learning, saying he needs new information to guide students. On Tuesday, he will be conferred with a Master's degree in education at the Open University's convocation. 'I never thought of becoming a lecturer when I came out of high school,' Mr Ip said. 'The nature of construction work - its long hours and risks - drove me to think of going on to the managerial level. You have to have a goal and be persistent in pursuing it. And, of course, family support is very important when you have to juggle both work and studies.' The Open University's graduation ceremony will see 4,507 working adults, including 1,456 mainland students, awarded degrees. Among them, 62-year-old Lo Hung-cheung will receive his Bachelor of Business Administration, matching his wife, who trained in accountancy. Mr Lo is now studying for his Master's in electronic commerce. 'I studied for it because my wife is a graduate of the Chu Hai College,' said Mr Lo, a retired financial controller. 'I now feel very happy.'