Open University


The Open University (OU)  offers flexible, work-based learning programmes spanning social work, social care and healthcare for staff at all levels. We are the UK’s leading provider of social work degrees, working with around 250 employers, training 10% of qualified social workers in the UK. Working with employers we tap into the experience of staff already working in social care: students on our social work programme are typically studying part-time alongside working in a support role with social workers. The experience OU students bring to social work study means that, when they complete the programme and qualify as social workers themselves, they hit the ground running, become high calibre practitioners who stay in service with the employer who supported them to qualify.

We also offer employers a shortened postgraduate route to qualifying as a Social Worker- enabling employers to tap into the seam of graduate talent in their workforce. The work-based postgraduate qualifying programme Diploma (PG Dip) and Masters in Social Work (MA) will enable suitably experienced and qualified graduates (of any discipline) the potential to qualify as social workers in less than 18 months.

Step-on options for support staff: 
As well as our Social Work degree we offer a Certificate of Higher Education (Cert HE) in Social Care (FHEQ Level 4) developed specifically for support staff working in social care. The Cert HE is a core component of a highly successful pilot programme supported by Care Council for Wales to develop Social Services Practitioners in Wales. The Cert can support employers across the UK (not just Wales) to develop, motivate and help retain good support staff.

New developments:

Apprenticeships – watch this space 
Working with employers, we are leading a national project to harness the potential of the new Social Worker Degree Apprenticeship to widen the social work profession to under-represented groups. And, subject to formal approval of the new Degree Apprenticeship Standard, assessment and funding, we aim to have our first intake to the Social Worker Degree Apprenticeship in autumn 2018.  Do come and talk to us about this opportunity to tap into the apprenticeship levy to develop your workforce.

Understanding mental capacity – we will be launching a new FREE learning resource on understanding mental capacity on Monday 12th March –DO come to the OU workshop led by the excellent Dr Sarah Vicary at 15.20pm – 16.00pm in the Innovation presentation in room at the COMPASS Jobs Fair Birmingham, Monday 12th March 2018 to find out more.

For more information on any of our social work/social care programmes please visit

Click here to take a look at our COMPASS 2018 advertisement.