Open University

Open University Click to enlarge

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 300 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.

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) develop specifically for support staff working in social care. The Cert HE is a core component of a 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 development – shortened postgraduate route to qualifying as a Social Worker:
In response to demand from employers we are also developing a work-based postgraduate qualifying programme (Diploma (PG Dip) and Masters in Social Work (MSW)) to enable graduates of any discipline to qualify as Social Workers. Pending formal approval by HCPC, the postgraduate programme will be launched in Spring 2017 to recruit graduate for entry in 2018.

Apprenticeships – watch this space
We are watching the development of proposed Higher Level Apprenticeships with keen interest. Aiming to build on our direct experience of workplace-based learning when the new standards are agreed and published for higher level and degree apprenticeships in social work and social care.
For more information please on any of our social work/social care programmes please visit