The Open University (OU) is one of the largest providers of social work training in the UK, with around 250 graduates every year. Our flexible study arrangements fit in with your work and home life, so you can carry on earning while you learn.
Our curriculum is developed by leading academics and professionals who are actively engaged in social work, ensuring that teaching reflects current priorities. We're also pioneers in working collaboratively with service users, whose voices are heard throughout our learning materials – challenging and enriching the contributions of practitioners and policy makers alike.
Use the menu on the right to find information about our social work qualifications
If you are new to studying with The Open University, useful information is available on our What it's like to study page.
The theme of this year’s World Social Work Day - 20 March 2018 - is “Promoting community and environmental sustainability”, so we asked our students to tell us how social work was having an impact in their community. Here’s our favourite response:
During my placement in a Mental Health Recovery Team, the workers are developing gardening therapy as a support group, focusing directly with those who have a mental health condition. The group is set up as an allotment, where service users in a small group can take part in the tasks involved in maintaining the garden, growing things and taking responsibility for the allotment. They have support and input from the recovery team, and peer support from those around them. One of the staff members has personally developed this idea and is raising funds through charitable activities, as well as using community funding resources. There is scope for the break-down of stigma through the project and to offer hope to those who need help.”Laura Sugden, final year student.
Providing sponsorship to staff enables them to develop a career pathway. We find that this definitely improves retention; in the 10+ years that we've been offering the OU degree programme, only one sponsored social worker has left - to take up a senior promoted post. Among former students, two are now team managers, one has recently begun studying for the Mental Health Officer Award (MHOA), and several are involved in practice learning placements with roles in mentoring and providing leadership input for the next generation of trainees.Karen O'Donnell, Workforce Development Officer, Angus Council