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Universities Minister, Chris Skidmore MP, visits The Open University

Chris Skidmore MP, Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation today visited The Open University campus in Milton Keynes, meeting staff and students.

Greeted by Professor Mary Kellett, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University, the Minister was introduced to the OU’s role in society, detailing the reach, scale and diversity of the university. The visit also touched on how the OU is responding to the changing policy and funding environments across the four UK nations.

Central to the OU’s social mission is an Open Access policy and how students from disadvantaged backgrounds are supported. The Minister was able to talk to students, alumni and apprentices about the challenges and barriers they face and overcome as part-time students.

Chris Skidmore and Iain Stewart meet OU staff and students

Chris Skidmore MP, Minister for Universities (pictured centre) and Iain Stewart (right) meet Open University staff and students.

The Minister was given a demonstration of the multi-award winning OpenSTEM laboratories. He was shown how the laboratory is brought to the laptop, how students learn as part of an online community and how the OU delivers its courses.

The OU also outlined their work on degree apprenticeships. With over 1,000 apprentices and a 98% employer satisfaction rate, the OU’s degree apprenticeship offer is built on extensive expertise, providing another opportunity for those that want to earn while they learn.

Professor Mary Kellett, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University said:

“The Open University is truly unique and today was a good opportunity to show the Minister the life-changing difference we make to society. Distance learning is often the only option for part-time students and it was powerful for the Minister to hear directly from them about the challenges the OU has helped them overcome to achieve success and fulfil their potential.

Chris Skidmore MP, Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation said:

“The Open University plays an important role as the largest provider of part-time higher education in this country, and has brought opportunities to people across the country who would not have had otherwise.
“It is important that we ensure that all students, including part-time and mature students, succeed at university, and it was great to meet students and hear first-hand the challenges they have overcome.”

About Author

Liz works in the Media Relations team within the Communications Unit at The Open University. She has over 15 years' marketing experience working across a range of sectors, from diamonds to shampoo. She has a BSc (Hons) in Management from UMIST. In her spare time, Liz is usually found on roller skates or off travelling, having adventures.

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