The OU works with other organisations in many ways, by providing courses, collaborating on new curriculum, validating programmes and sharing our expertise to help other distance learning ventures become established. The focus for all our collaborative ventures is on finding new ways to fulfil our mission of opening up educational opportunities to more people in more places.
Develop your employees with the OU
The flexible nature of OU study is ideally suited to people in employment, and many companies and organisations sponsor their employees to study with us. The Open University is:
More than 50,000 employers, including 75% of FTSE 100 companies, have sponsored their staff on OU programmes.
- the largest provider of Law graduates in the United Kingdom
- training thousands of nurses, teachers and social workers
- accredited by the world's top management education associations - AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA
Courses and consultancy services tailored to employers' needs
We offer a range of courses and consultancy services specifically to meet the needs of employers. We can provide tailor-made courses or programmes, or customise our existing courses, drawing on our vast experience in learning systems that have a proven record of success.
Foundation degrees are higher education qualifications designed in collaboration with employers to provide the intermediate technical and professional skills they demand. We currently offer a choice of 22 foundation degrees, which include some workplace learning and can be a stepping stone to further study.
Using OU materials
With over 40 years' experience, the OU is renowned for the quality of its learning materials. Open University Worldwide is the University's trading arm, making our resources more widely available through a number of routes.
We licence many of these resources for use by partners around the globe in their own education and training programmes.
We work with partner institutions to deliver OU programmes in their countries.
And we offer some of our materials for purchase. Our catalogue includes stand-alone books, CDs, DVDs and software as well as study packs complete with leader's notes that can be used in groups or the workplace.
Validating the programmes of our partners
Through its approval and validation activity, the OU makes higher education awards available to the students of organisations that wish to offer OU awards. Following their initial approval, institutions are re-approved on a regular basis to ensure that they continue to meet the OU’s criteria in terms of procedures and resources for teaching, learning and assessment, staffing and staff development, academic organisation and internal quality assurance systems.
We currently work with almost 30 institutions worldwide, for which we validate a total of over 200 programmes of study at undergraduate and postgraduate level. To date, more than 117,000 students have achieved an OU validated award. A validated award is the same as an OU direct award in terms of employment and application for postgraduate study.
Our longest and probably best-known partner - the BBC - has been linked with the OU since its earliest days, when politicians were proposing a 'University of the Air'. Television was the first in a long line of new technologies which the OU has used to support its students, but also to bring education to the widest possible audience of non-formal learners. Over the years the emphasis has shifted away from broadcasting programmes related to single OU courses, which can now be supplied to students more effectively in DVD or electronic format, towards programmes that will inspire viewers to participate in lifelong learning.
Popular OU programmes in recent years have included five series of the BAFTA-winning Coast series, long-running series such as The Money Programme and hard-hitting investigations such as Can Gerry Robinson Fix The NHS? OpenLearn is our online learning portal featuring a wide range of activities and information, much of it linked to OU/BBC productions.
Robert Winston's Child of Our Time
Robert Winston’s Child of Our Time series is a landmark OU/BBC co-production which has followed the lives of 25 children for over a decade since their birth .
The Armed Forces
More than 1,200 serving members of the British armed forces and the Merchant Navy are studying with The Open University across the world. Through an agreement between the Ministry of Defence and the OU going back to the early 1970s, a wide range of courses are available, with course materials supplied via the student's BFPO address. OU study centres have been established in Cyprus and Germany. Many have studied while on active service, even in conflict situations.
The National Health Service
The OU is training nurses for the National Health Service through its Pre-Registration Nursing Programme. Developed in collaboration with the NHS the programme allows unqualified health care assistants to train as registered nurses in as little as four years, while continuing to work.
Other partnerships within the health and social care field include one with the Royal College of Nursing, leading to a new BSc in Nursing Practice.
Memberships of other organisations
The OU is a member of these organisations: