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Successes and further resources

Within the field of health and social care, Open University learners past and present have gained external recognition for their excellent practice. Our dementia training partnership with the retailer Asda has also attracted a national award.

In addition to the qualifications outlined in Health and Social Care we offer a range of bespoke learning opportunities in relation to autism, dementia and self-directed care and support in Scotland.

Successes for OU graduate and students

In 2016 Emma Govan, learning disabilities social worker, won the NHS Borders' Celebrating Excellence 'Rising Star' award.

Emma GovanEmma, pictured right with her award, left school with one O level. She said: "Raising a child with autism took me into a world where my family needed professional support. Social workers entered my family’s life and I knew then that I wanted to help other families in a similar way. 

"My first Open University course was in 2006. I worked through the modules with a drive and determination to qualify as a social worker. I faced many challenges along the way, balancing the complexity of family, work and study, but never lost focus.

"I graduated in 2014 and am so proud to be a social worker.

"I’m passionate about my career and my learning journey. Relationships are at the core of what I do. With so many changes within social work happening, I will continue to strive to promote equality and social justice. Never Give Up’ is my mantra!"

Read more here 

Student Susie Allison received the 2014 Student Social Worker of the Year award in recognition for her outstanding work while on placement with Dumfries and Galloway Council. Applying theory to practice, she came up with an initiative to reduce bed-blocking which was described as "astounding" by the awards judges.

At the Scottish Association of Social Work Awards 2013, Student of the Year went to Clare Edmondson, with fellow OU student Allyson Johnston taking second prize.

Award for The OU and Asda

Award for The OU and AsdaDementia is a national priority of the Scottish Government, as people live longer and with more complex care needs. Asda Community Life Champions across Scotland have successfully completed workshop training, developed by The OU in Scotland, to promote a dementia-friendly retail environment.

At The Herald Higher Education Awards 2015 our partnership won the 'outstanding contribution to the community' category.

Staff have increased their awareness of dementia and become more confident and self aware in how they support customers with dementia. Specially-compiled resources can be used as prompts to help employees think about how they can support their customers better. 

We are currently exploring how we can expand this work with other organisations in the service sector. 

Other educational support:


The Open University course, Understanding the Autism Spectrum, is an authoritative, up-to-date and accessible guide to the field. Our course has proved extremely popular, attracting more than 3,000 students over the last three years, including health and legal professionals, teachers, parents and grandparents, as well as people on the spectrum.

Between 2012-2014, the Scottish Government group tasked with implementing the Scottish Strategy for Autism funded free places on the module as a vital part of their initiative to improve the lives of people with autism and their families.

Dementia care

The OU in Scotland provides non-accredited workshops across a range of different contexts. We offer a highly successful programme of Living well with dementia workshops to employers such as Health and Social Care departments within local councils and the NHS. Our module, Dementia Care has also recently been comprehensively mapped to the Promoting Excellence Framework (NHS Education for Scotland/SSSC) 2014. 

Foundations for self-directed support in Scotland

This free online OpenLearn resource is about enabling people to make their own decisions about the care and support they receive, following legislation which came into force in Scotland in 2014. It aims to provide a broad understanding and is intended to be studied by a range of people: care service users, carers, personal assistants, health and social care workers, nurses, doctors and social workers.

The unit was developed by The OU with the support of the Scottish Government. It is primarily for adults, but also looks at personalisation of care and support for children. The OU in Scotland published an evaluation report in September 2016.

companion workshop resource to the online course was published in November 2016. 

Contact us

NHS and social care providers:
Jane Dickinson,
Business Development Manager (Scotland)
Tel 07880 781552.

Dementia care training:
Derek Goldman
Learning and Teaching Co-ordinator 
Tel 0131 549 7155.

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