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Social Work

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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

Study at The Open University

If you are new to studying with The Open University, useful information is available on our What it's like to study page.



The OU has launched the new Social Worker Degree Apprenticeship will provide a vital new work-based route into the profession.

Councils and organisations from the private and voluntary sector can utilise apprenticeship levy funds to train both new and existing social care support staff. The apprenticeship builds on the University's long-standing experience of delivering social work training.

The Social Worker Degree Apprenticeship is a practice-based learning programme that combines on and off-the-job learning and development, delivered flexibly around the demands of the organisation. Apprentices will develop new skills and knowledge whilst carrying out a job role as part of a team in a social care setting.

At the end of the three-year programme, apprentices will receive an honours degree and be eligible to apply for registration as a social worker. 

The OU recently ran a webinar for employers to find out more about the apprenticeship programme. The well-attended session was hosted by Apprenticeship Development Manager, Angela Gill, and Ann Flynn, Locality Lead and Staff Tutor. 

​Watch the webinar here: Apprenticeship webinar

If you are an employer who may be interested in supporting staff on to our Social Work Degree Apprenticeships, we would love to hear from you!  To get in touch, call our Business Development Unit on 0300 303 0122 or email 


Social Work enquiries

phone: +44(0)1908 654229

phone: +44(0)131 226 3851

phone: +44(0)29 2026 2728

phone: +44(0)28 9024 5025

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