Infant and mother hold hands

OU responds to workforce development challenges with new Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work

The OU is celebrating World Social Work Day (#WSWD2017) with the launch of a new Post-graduate Diploma and MA in Social Work.

The OU has been training social workers for more than 18 years with 300 people graduating in the field each year. Speaking after a recent Parliamentary Reception Mick McCormick, Programme Director, Head of Department and Senior Lecturer in Social Work at the OU said:

Mick McCormick, Head of Social Work at The Open University

Mick McCormick, Head of Social Work at The Open University

“It was a privilege to attend the Social Worker of the Year Awards Parliamentary Reception recently, and to meet the inspiring social work practitioners making a huge difference to the lives of some of our most marginalised citizens and communities.

“I was also reminded of just how long and how effective the OU has been at delivering high quality social work education, and it was a pleasure to hear from colleagues what a difference OU social work education has made to their workforce and their communities.”

OU has been well placed to witness and respond to the changing landscape. This new diploma is a direct response to conversations with employers looking for solutions to their workforce development challenges. Staff retention remains high on the agenda for social work and social care agencies as Mick explained:

"Losing social workers is part of a vicious and costly circle which reduces capacity to deliver effective service and ultimately affects the continuity and experience of service users and neighbourhoods."

“Our pioneering approach to social work education, combining two potent learning traditions (work-based learning and supported open learning), has made a coherent, comprehensive and integrated learning experience for students. Our programme reaches out to employees who would not otherwise have had the opportunity to progress in social work, developing staff who already have experience of social work or social care. OU students embark on their social work training with their eyes wide open and with a commitment to and understanding of social work that will keep them in the profession for the long haul.”

“We work with around 300 employers across the UK to develop social workers through our ‘grow your own’ model. These partnerships are essential and together we deliver the learning and practice support to help students succeed. Students retain their role in service while they train and are putting their new knowledge and skills into practice and making a difference to communities across the UK.”

Applications are open now and the Postgraduate Diploma and MA is social work will commence on January 2018.