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Apprenticeships

The Open University (OU) has been transforming students' lives and delivering high standards of education for over half a century.

We offer Higher Apprenticeships and Degree Apprenticeships across the UK delivered by blended learning, to allow greater flexibility for employers and apprentices.

Our apprenticeships provision comprises healthcare, policing, social work, digital, systems thinking, management and leadership in England, and digital and IT programmes in Scotland and Wales.


WHAT IS AN APPRENTICESHIP?

An apprenticeship is a job with training. Apprentices spend approximately 80% of their time on their day-to-day role (on-the-job training) and 20% completing learning activities (off-the-job training).

Apprenticeships develop employees’ professional knowledge, skills and behaviours whilst they’re working in your organisation, enhancing their performance and expertise. Find out how apprenticeships can benefit your organisation.

Apprenticeships are delivered by the employer, in partnership with an approved apprenticeship provider like the OU. They’re available from Level 2 to Level 8.

We offer apprenticeships from Level 4 to Level 7 in England, Level 6 (Scottish Level 10) and Level 7 (Scottish Level 11) in Scotland and Level 6 in Wales.


INFORMATION FOR EMPLOYERS AND APPRENTICES

Manager speaking to employees

FOR EMPLOYERS

Develop the skills which are relevant for your organisation, improve productivity and staff morale.

Manager speaking to apprentices

FOR APPRENTICES

Earn while you learn and develop the skills you need to gain access to sectors you want to work in.


WHY CHOOSE THE OPEN UNIVERSITY

Heritage

The Open University has offered apprenticeships since 2016 and now offers higher and degree programmes in healthcare, policing, social work, digital, systems thinking, management and leadership in England. Digital and IT programmes are offered in Scotland and Wales.

Scalability

Our extensive geographical reach enables consistent educational programmes to be delivered at scale, across geographically dispersed workforces, from individual learners to whole cohorts.

Ofsted GOOD

The Open University is rated ‘Good’ from Ofsted (Level 5 apprenticeships).

​Open University apprenticeships are:

  • Flexible - Online and blended learning mean apprentices can study at a pace and place that suits them, reducing disruption for staff and business, and making learners more likely to succeed. 
  • Supported - Apprentices excel with in-person support alongside online and in-work learning. Practice tutors support apprentices in the workplace and academic tutors hold regular tutorials. 
  • Accessible - Our ‘inclusive-by-design’ apprenticeships are accessible to everyone. This helps you attract and advance staff regardless of prior attainment, widening participation and expanding your talent pool. 
  • Local - Wherever you are in the UK, our accessible online learning and nationwide network of tutors make us your local university. 
  • Integrated - Our apprenticeships build knowledge and practical experience in tandem, delivering integrated learning that delivers immediate benefits to your organisation. 
  • Relevant - Outstanding partnerships with employers let us co-create apprenticeship programmes to meet your business needs – as well as the requirements of the Apprenticeship Standard. 

THE RIGHT PROGRAMME FOR YOUR APPRENTICE


20% OFF-THE-JOB TRAINING / 20% PROTECTED TIME

An apprenticeship is a job with a formal programme of training. Employers will need to allow at least 20% of an apprentice’s working time to be allocated for what is called 'off-the-job training' in England and 'protected time' in Scotland. This is time for the apprentice to engage in the learning with the OU.

For full guidance visit:


What is it?

Off-the-job training or protected time is defined as learning which is undertaken outside of the normal day-to-day working environment within contracted hours, leading towards the achievement of an apprenticeship.

It must: 

  • teach new knowledge, skills and/or behaviours that will contribute to the successful achievement of an apprenticeship 
  • be directly relevant to the apprenticeship standard 

Click on the flowchart below to see what counts as off-the-job training.

Examples of what could be included (*) Examples of what's not included (*)
  • Training that is delivered at the apprentice’s normal place of work but is not part of their normal working duties 
  • The teaching of theory (for example: lectures, role playing, simulation exercises, online learning or manufacturer training)
  • Practical training: shadowing, mentoring, industry visits and attendance at competitions
  • Learning support and time spent writing assessments/assignments 
  • Progress reviews or on-programme assessments needed for an apprenticeship 
  • Training which takes place outside of the apprentice’s paid working hours 
  • English and maths (up to Level 2) which is funded separately. Additional paid working time needs to be allowed by the employer on top of the 20% off-the-job training.

(*) More detailed information can be found in the 20%-off-the-job training guide.

How should off-the-job training be delivered? 

  • It’s up to the employer and the training provider to decide on an appropriate delivery model and agree what can be included.
  • May include regular day release, block release and special training days/workshops.
  • Off-the-job training cannot be delivered solely by distance learning.

20% off-the-job sounds like it’s a loss but actually it quickly turns into a benefit in that you get increased employee productivity and engagement. It’s an initial investment of 20% but you’ll find part way through the course that switching to a payback. It quickly turns into a benefit back to the business.”

Senior Early Professional Manager, IBM

Education & Skills Funding Agency
European Union - European Social Fund
Apprenticeships

Find out how we can help your organisation

Please contact us to speak to one of our business team advisors.

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