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Ryan Adair

OU/UNISON partnership in Northern Ireland

Ryan Adair - The Cindy Fogarty award from UNISON NI

I began my academic journey only as a means of improving my situation; it was never about gaining accolades or prizes so I was in total shock when I was told I won the award. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be receiving an award in recognition of my achievements in lifelong learning. I am both totally amazed, inspired and completely humbled by the award.

In Northern Ireland, The Open University works with UNISON NI in order to encourage employers to train their staff in a work-based qualification. We currently offer a Certificate in Introduction to Health and Social Care. Since 2005, 782 students have enrolled on this module.

Each of the five Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland offers support for their employees in terms of fee payment and time off for study.

Our flagship project has enabled hundreds of UNISON members to benefit from study skills support sessions which help them to prepare for studying the Level 1 Open University module, K101 An introduction to health and social care.

Many of these students have moved on, beyond their Level 1 studies, to study for nursing qualifications or degrees in Health and Social Care. In May 2012, 77 UNISON members were awarded professional nursing qualifications many of who had started out on the OU/UNISON partnership programme of study.

In 2010, the partnership between The Open University and UNISON was named Widening Participation Initiative of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards.

Contact: Helen Evans, Staff Tutor.