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Meet our Prosperity partner: The Open University in Wales

ou partners with Bevan Foundation“Like the Bevan Foundation, the OU is working to make Wales a fairer and more prosperous place.”

About the Open University in Wales

The Open University (OU) in Wales is the leading provider of part-time undergraduate higher education and supported distance learning across Wales. It is a world leader in providing innovative and flexible supported distance learning opportunities at higher education level.

Over 9,000 students are currently studying with the OU in Wales and with students in every Assembly constituency the OU is everyone’s local university.

This year the OU is celebrating 50 years of opening up education to all. Although teaching methods have changed considerably since 1969 the OU’s mission remains as it was back then – to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.

Anyone, anywhere, can study with the OU. All you need is the desire to learn.

How the OU is working towards prosperity 

The OU’s unique teaching method enables those who may never previously have considered higher education, or those with work or caring commitments, to be able to achieve and prosper. The supported distance learning model of the OU is designed to be different from campus-based learning, and to help learners progress with confidence.

Widening participation in higher education: No formal qualifications are needed for most OU study and almost 40% of OU students begin their studies without standard university entry qualifications. The concept of widening participation in higher education is at the core of the OU’s work.

Flexible, supported learning: You can study with the OU anywhere and at any time making, which is ideal for those with work or caring responsibilities, or those who don’t have higher education provision in their community. The OU is also able to support carers and disabled students, so that they feel supported while studying at their own pace.

Learn while you earn: OU study enables people to upskill or reskill, and to study while they’re working in order to get a promotion or prepare themselves for a career change. Over 150 companies in Wales sponsor their staff to study with the OU and courses range from business administration to social work and from nursing to computing and IT.

Free online learning: OpenLearn is the OU’s free learning platform containing a wide range of courses and interactive learning opportunities. Whether it’s a 5-minute exploration or a 24-hour expedition into learning that you’re after, you’ll find it on OpenLearn for free.

You will find almost 1,000 free courses, topical and interactive content, videos and online games on OpenLearn and you can find a selection of free bilingual courses on OpenLearn Cymru.

Hot topics


Social mobility: The OU is passionate about education as a vehicle for social mobility. Like the Bevan Foundation, the OU is working to make Wales a fairer and more prosperous place by opening up education and removing barriers to participation in learning. The OU is keen to hear from any community groups, organisations or partners who would like to work with them on this.

Degree Apprenticeships: This year the OU has started offering a Degree Apprenticeship in Software Engineering in Wales. This is a fantastic opportunity for employers to offer a fully-funded apprenticeship through a flexible and supported learning model and is built on considerable experience gained by the University in England and in Scotland. The OU is hoping to expand its degree apprenticeships offer in the coming years as one way to support skills development in Wales.

Working with schools and colleges: From 2019/20 onwards new part-time PGCE routes into teaching will be on offer at the OU – both for those already working in schools and those looking to change career paths. The OU is happy to work in partnership with schools and colleges to help develop pathways into and through higher education for both learners and staff.  This work currently includes courses for teaching assistants with Trade Unions, providing short courses for learners to get ahead start with our Young People’s Programme, and upskilling for teachers in primary schools to be confident in teaching Modern Foreign Languages.

To find out more about the Open University in Wales, please visit their website or follow them on Twitter @OUCymru or Facebook @openuniversitywales

The Bevan Foundation is delighted to be working in partnership with the Open University in Wales towards greater prosperity in Wales.

Keep an eye out for news on our joint upcoming thought leader event and other Prosperity-themed activities.


In Print

Exchange Magazine »

Exchange, Issue 15 Autumn 2019

Wales’ best policy and politics magazine! The latest edition of Exchange, Wales’ best policy and politics magazine, provides more insights into the current and important issues in Welsh public life. Our Autumn 2019 article includes: Julie Morgan AM, Deputy Minister […] »

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With child poverty increasing and casting a long shadow over children’s lives, leading child poverty expert, Naomi Eisenstadt, outlines her thinking on what governments at all levels can do to reduce it. Join us at this important event to discuss […] »