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If you are not in relevant employment

The Open University Programme is work-based and is only suitable for you if you are already in employment in social care. All degree students have to complete 200 days of supervised practice in a work setting, so it would be impossible to complete the award entirely on a part-time, distance learning basis and without an employer's support.

If you are not currently working, or you are working in a different field altogether, then you might want to seek a Social Work Traineeship (some may be open only to graduates) or try to obtain a job as an unqualified worker such as a Social Work Assistant or support worker. It would be very important to discuss your training options at your job interview, as some posts may be designated for Social Work training and some not, and some employers may have arrangements to second staff to local universities.

If you are planning to seek employment, one way forward might be to study K101 An introduction to health and  social care independently as a first step. It is a foundation course designed to give you a good grounding in health and social care issues as well as help you to develop your study skills. The course is well known to many employers and it may help you demonstrate your commitment and ability in this area of work. It may also help you to decide whether a Social Work course and open learning are right for you. The 60 credits you gain can be counted towards the degree in Social Work or an OU BA/BSc Honours Degree. Register for K101 An introduction to health and social care.

Other programmes

The alternative to a work-based route is to find out about full- or part-time undergraduate courses available from your local university and apply through the UCAS system. The UCAS handbook is available from: UCAS, Rosehill, New Barn Lane, Cheltenham GL52 3LZ (Tel: 01242 223707 or contact them at www.ucas.com).

If you are a graduate already, you may want to consider doing a postgraduate award instead. For information about postgraduate courses please refer to the websites of the individual universities.