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The Open University (OU) has been transforming students' lives and delivering high standards of education for over half a century.

We offer higher and degree-level apprenticeships across the UK delivered by blended learning, to allow greater flexibility for employers and apprentices.

Our apprenticeships provision comprises healthcare, policing, social work, digital, systems thinking, management and leadership in England, and digital and IT programmes in Wales.


An apprenticeship is a paid job which offers hands on work experience alongside off-the-job training. Apprentices spend most of their time on their day-to-day role but also spend some time completing learning activities (off-the-job training ). This is time which is protected, planned and, agreed  with the employer. 

Apprenticeships develop professional knowledge, skills and behaviours whilst they’re working in your organisation, enhancing their performance and expertise. Find out how apprenticeships can benefit your organisation.

Apprenticeships are delivered by the employer, in partnership with an approved apprenticeship provider like the OU. They’re available from Level 2 to Level 8. 

We offer apprenticeships from Level 4 to Level 7 in England, and Level 6 in Wales.


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Develop the skills which are relevant for your organisation, improve productivity and staff morale.

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Earn while you learn and develop the skills you need to gain access to sectors you want to work in.



The Open University has offered apprenticeship standards since 2016 and now offers higher and degree programmes in healthcare, policing, social work, digital, systems thinking, management and leadership in England. Digital and IT programmes are offered in Wales.


Our extensive geographical reach enables consistent educational programmes to be delivered at scale, across geographically dispersed workforces, from individual learners to whole cohorts.

Ofsted GOOD

The Open University is rated ‘Good’ from Ofsted (Level 5 apprenticeships).

​Open University apprenticeships are:

  • Flexible - Online and blended learning mean apprentices can study at a pace and place that suits them, reducing disruption for staff and business, and making learners more likely to succeed. 
  • Supported - Apprentices excel with in-person support alongside online and in-work learning. Practice tutors support apprentices in the workplace and academic tutors hold regular tutorials. 
  • Accessible - Our ‘inclusive-by-design’ apprenticeships are accessible to everyone. This helps you attract and advance staff regardless of prior attainment, widening participation and expanding your talent pool. 
  • Local - Wherever you are in the UK, our accessible online learning and nationwide network of tutors make us your local university. 
  • Integrated - Our apprenticeships build knowledge and practical experience in tandem, delivering integrated learning that delivers immediate benefits to your organisation. 
  • Relevant - Outstanding partnerships with employers let us co-create apprenticeship programmes to meet your business needs – as well as the requirements of the Apprenticeship Standard. 
  • The OU has more than 2,800 apprentices on higher and degree programmes, and in addition, more than 2,000 apprentices have completed their programmes. These apprentices work across 950 employers.
  • Apprentices completing their programme were surveyed* and we discovered that:
    • 96% developed new skills.
    • 71% gained a promotion.
    • 81% improved job satisfaction.
    • 91% took on extra responsibilities.

*Survey by J2 Research


Currently we don’t offer apprenticeships in Northern Ireland. If you are an employer and would like to develop your workforce, browse the Open University offer for businesses to find the courses that best satisfy the training needs of your organisation. If you are an individual considering to study with The Open University, visit our courses website, where you will find a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications and modules.

An apprenticeship is a job with a formal programme of training which meets the requirements of the Apprenticeship Standard (in England), Framework (in Wales). The time that employers must allocate to this training can vary between programmes. The planned training hours will be detailed in the Training Plan. Note that in England and Wales, this time is called 'off-the-job training'. This is time for the apprentice to engage in the learning with the OU during their contracted working hours. 

For full guidance visit:

What is it?

Off-the-job training time is defined as learning which is undertaken outside of the normal day-to-day working environment but within contracted hours, leading towards the achievement of an apprenticeship.

It must: 

  • teach new knowledge, skills and/or behaviours that will contribute to the successful achievement of an apprenticeship 
  • be directly relevant to the apprenticeship standard 

Click on the flowchart below to see what counts as off-the-job training time.

Examples of what could be included (*) Examples of what's not included (*)
  • Training that is delivered at the apprentice’s normal place of work but is not part of their normal working duties 
  • The teaching of theory (for example: lectures, role playing, simulation exercises, online learning or manufacturer training)
  • Practical training: shadowing, mentoring, industry visits and attendance at competitions
  • Learning support and time spent writing assessments/assignments 
  • Training to acquire knowledge, skills and behaviours that are not required in the standard or framework
  • Progress reviews, exams or on-programme assessments needed for an apprenticeship 
  • Training which takes place outside of the apprentice’s paid working hours 
  • English and maths (up to Level 2) which is funded separately. Additional paid working time needs to be allowed by the employer on top of the off-the-job training.

(*) More detailed information can be found in the Apprenticeships: off-the-job training guide

How should off-the-job training time be delivered? 

  • It’s up to the employer and the training provider to decide on an appropriate delivery model and agree what can be included.
  • May include regular day release, block release and special training days/workshops.
  • Off-the-job training cannot be delivered solely by distance learning.

Education & Skills Funding Agency Apprenticeships  

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