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Health and social care

The Open University has the expertise to support and develop health and social care professionals within both large workforces and small specialist teams, to meet the needs of the integrated health and social care agenda in Scotland. We work collaboratively with a diverse range of organisations and employers across the country. Find out about successes for our learners and an award-winning partnership, as well as information on further resources.

Social Work

David, social worker

Many practising social workers in Scotland have been trained by The Open University. The Open University’s Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Social Work (Scotland) is approved by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) and leads to registration as a qualified social worker.

Since our first degrees were conferred in 2009, we have had over 400 graduates. Of these, more than 100 had embarked on our degree as graduate entrants, like David (pictured right) - read more.

We also offer a SSSC-approved Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work, the next cohort will start in January 2020. Students can be sponsored by employers in the statutory or third sectors and would potentially be qualified as social workers within 18 months. Following successful completion of the Postgraduate Diploma, there would be the opportunity to do a further module to gain a MA in Social Work.

Examples for employers of different options to support students are available here.

An integral part of the social work programme is undertaking practical learning in social work teams. This video highlights the benefits to teams of offering student placements.


OU staff  meeting with NHS, government and care provider colleagues in December 2016 for an annual review of The OU's pre-registration nursing programme in Scotland.Pre-Registration partnerships

Our Bachelor of Science (Hons) Adult Nursing and Bachelor of Science (Hons) Mental Health Nursing degrees include practice-based learning routes for those already working in healthcare.

We work with Scottish health boards and private partners to deliver our Scottish Government funded Pre-Registration Nursing (PRN) programme.

This programme provides an ideal opportunity to nurture and develop staff within NHS Ayrshire and Arran to reach their true potential, by becoming exceptional registered nurses working within both Adult and Mental Health care settings.

Chris Rodden, Quality Improvement Lead – Professional and Improvement Education at NHS Ayrshire and Arran, pictured above standing fifth from right.

OU staff are pictured above right, meeting with NHS, government and care provider colleagues in December 2016 for an annual review of The OU's pre-registration nursing programme in Scotland.

Michaela OlverKeith Allan is a newly-registered nurse from NHS Ayrshire and Arran. Read Keith's story.

Michaela Olver (pictured right), a nurse with NHS Borders, has shared her experience of studying with The OU in a blog.

The Scottish Government has funded a number of nursing student places linked to widening access that enables healthcare support workers from the care home sector in parts of Scotland to apply for funded places on our pre-registration programme.

We are happy to discuss partnerships with employers in the independent sector to enable them to develop their staff to meet their needs.

Other qualifications

The OU in Scotland also offers a Certificate and Diploma of Higher Education in Healthcare Practice for healthcare support staff. These are standalone qualifications, which may also be stepping stones to an application for a PRN degree. For qualified nurses who are not graduates, we offer a Bachelor of Science (Hons) Nursing Practice degree. Students on this degree, as well as the Certificate and Diploma, may receive employer sponsorship, or for information on potential funding support visit our fees and funding page.

Further information

Discover more about our range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses and our pathways to a nursing career with The Open University.

Find out more about The OU's work with the NHS and social care providers to train staff on the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies website. 

NHSScotland staff

The OU in Scotland is a contributing partner of NHS Education for Scotland (NES). NHSScotland staff can also access information on relevant courses, qualifications and pathways on a portal. These are grouped according to job category: Business and Admin; Estates and Facilities; Clinical Support Worker.


Contact us

Suzanne McQuade
Business Relationships Manager
01908 858 755

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