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Employability and The Open University

Employability isn’t just about getting a job. It’s about building your confidence and skills to fulfil your potential and achieve your personal, educational and career goals, whatever that looks like for you and whatever your background. 

Studying with the OU equips you with more than a qualification – our courses are carefully designed to ensure you gain a range of transferable skills which are valued by employers.

Employability – our definition 

We define employability as ‘A set of capabilities and achievements that support students in developing their careers, raising their aspirations and enhancing their contribution to society’. This starts with helping you understand the skills and qualities valued by employers that you already have, as well as the new ones you’ll gain from OU study. We’ll equip you with the right skills, values and behaviours to enable you to achieve your goals.

How the OU is improving student employability

We work with employers to draw upon work-based examples and up-to-date industry knowledge to embed employability into our courses. 

Our unique Employability Framework aims to embed employability into the whole student journey so that all students, on all study paths, have equal opportunities to develop their employability skills and attributes. It covers areas identified as key for employers, including skills such as communication and problem solving, and valued qualities such as initiative, self-management and resilience.


Watch a video of Vice-Chancellor Tim Blackman talking about why employers love OU graduates  

The support we offer

Whatever your current situation and your goals, we’ll support you with careers support and tools, learning events and employer opportunities throughout your studies and for three years after you graduate.

You’ll even get special resources to support you along the way – we’ll provide you with Personal Development Planning tools and resources designed to help you identify your study, career and personal goals and track progress towards achieving these.  We place emphasis on reflection of the development of employability skills and attributes from your OU study and the articulation of these elements for personal and professional use. These are some of the ways we can help:


Careers support, tools and activities

As an OU student you will have access to our quality-certified, award-winning Careers and Employability Services. We help a wide range of students at all stages of their working lives achieve personal, study and career goals – all with differing needs and representing all backgrounds, abilities and disabilities, races and religion.

Our artificial intelligence-powered ‘career readiness’ diagnostic will direct you to a tailored range of tools and support to build confidence and navigate your future. Our range of resources and tools include idea-generating software, workshops and webinars, downloadable guides, bite-sized on-demand podcasts and videos that will help you define and work towards your career goals, whatever they are or how they develop. 

Our team is also available to you for individual consultations from the moment you start studying up to three years after. 

For more information, visit our Careers and Employability Services web pages.


Networking and employer connections 

Careers and Employability Service also support students in exploring pathways to achieving a specific career goal with opportunities to connect to employers via a range of panel events, virtual or in-person site visits. As a student you can browse relevant job vacancies based on your career interests, and we also work with employers to create virtual and site-based flexible internships and work placements.

Visit our Help Centre to find out more about networking and how we can help with employer connections.


Employability Hub on OpenLearn

In the Employability Hub you’ll find a range of free resources that may help you develop your employability. 

So whether have a personal goal to build your confidence or aspire to be a CEO, as we produce more CEOs than any other UK university, the OU is open to you.

Visit the Employability Hub on OpenLearn.


Our Careers and Employability Service was highly commended in 'Best University Careers Service' in the National Undergraduate Employability Awards 2021.

Student stories

I was given the opportunity by The Open University’s Career and Employability service to have work experience with Citizens Advice. This has tied in really well with my degree and it has really broadened my skill set.

Clara Collins, OU student

I started the internship to gain business marketing and management experience. I felt like I had the opportunity to learn some real tangible skills. And most importantly, I got a real confidence boost.

Candace Louison, OU student

OU study has benefited my personal development greatly. I am now confident, academically skilled and have recognised transferable skills such as logical thinking, critical analysis, presentation and networking, together with being familiar with software and online tools that are used in the workplace.

Charlotte Butterworth, OU student
Find out more about Clara’s, Candace’s and Charlotte's journeys on our website.
96% of students supported would recommend the OU’s Careers and Employability Services.