Collaboration between The Open University and employers

The Social Work Degree Programme is work based and is offered in collaboration with employing agencies only. Students can therefore study the programme only if they are fully supported by their employer.

The respective roles and responsibilities of the OU and employing agencies are as follows:

The Open University

It is the responsibility of The Open University to:

  • ensure that all social work students are appropriately selected for training
  • provide study materials for students, their tutors and practice assessors
  • provide tutorial support
  • organise and administer all the assessment and award procedures
  • ensure students are registered on the SSSC social work student register.


It is the responsibility of agencies to:

  • participate in the selection of members of staff suitable for training through open learning and comply with the University's regulations
  • sponsor staff who are selected
  • support students by giving the equivalent of a half to one day a week study leave throughout the Programme (the amount of study leave required depending on how much study the student is undertaking in any one year) and full-time release for the duration of the external practice learning period.
  • provide appropriate practice learning opportunities with a suitably qualified Practice Educator.