The Open University

OU Logo2The Open University (OU) works with unions to extend higher education to union members.

Here you can get information about courses that are available from the OU as well as point you in the right direction to get help regarding any concerns you may have about studying at higher education level, financial support and avoiding huge educational debt.

You can study with the OU no matter who you are, where you are or what you do.

The Partnership

The OU and Unionlearn signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2006. This provided the basis for working in partnership to support union members to access higher level learning opportunities.

There is an OU-Unionlearn Steering Group made up of representatives of the OU, unionlearn and unions affiliated to the TUC which manages this special relationship.

Access to Success programme

An opportunity for people to improve their prospects and confidence

The OU is dedicated to extending educational opportunities to people from all walks of life.

The Access to Success Route eases people into university level study, increases confidence and study skills in just two steps:

STEP 1 – Choice of three OU Access Modules
STEP 2 – Choice of a more in-depth Level 1 Module in a relevant subject

On successful completion of Step 1, students gain an OU Access Module Certificate and after Step 2 they will have credit that can be counted towards a nationally-recognised qualification, up to a full undergraduate degree.

To qualify, students must live in England, have a household income of under £25,000 and have little or no previous university study experience.

Step 1 costs just £25*, a saving of £600 on the usual cost. Step 2 costs £1,000, a saving of £1,500, which can be paid for using a Tuition Fee Loan.

Anyone who thinks they could benefit, even if they aren’t eligible, can call the OU on 01908 659253 or visit the Access to Success programme website.


The OU has over 600 courses, covering a wide range of fascinating subjects. To find out more request a prospectus or speak to an advisor on 0845 300 6090, quoting UNIONM.

The OU launched its first MOOC (massive open online course) in November 2013. Drawing on 40 years’ experience of delivering online and distance education to global audiences, the OU is using this knowledge to create a visually captivating online course for UK and international audiences.

Find details of the OU’s current MOOCs on the Futurelearn website.

Read more about OpenLearn – the home of free learning from The Open University.

Student Experience

The OU offers a unique study experience. If you haven’t studied with us before, click here to find out more about How OU study works.

Visit OU View, the OU’s YouTube channel, covering a wide range of video subjects and issues. Below is a couple of videos about the OU student experience:

Returning to Learning – student experience

An OU student’s experience


Come and meet us at one of our events where you can find out from OU staff what it’s like to study with us, and how our courses suit your needs. Click here to find your nearest event.

Free mentoring course

Take advantage of the free mentoring course developed by the OU and Foundation Degree Forward for workplace mentors available by clicking here.


For general enquiries from union learners and requests for further information please call 0845 300 60 90.

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