In partnership with The Open University, Uber Eats recently launched a ‘learn while you earn’ programme for couriers. Under the programme, eligible couriers are invited to access a range of OU courses and microcredentials, free of charge, boosting their skills and professional development opportunities.
This new offer came about as a result of another OU-Uber partnership involving Uber drivers. Four years ago, the OU and Uber, where eligible drivers were given access to (or could nominate a family member) fully funded education opportunities from short courses to undergraduate degrees.
Expanding the partnership
That programme has been so successful, both for Uber and for drivers, that the company decided to extend it to Uber Eats.
The Open University partnership started with the Uber Rides part of the business in 2019, and we witnessed the success and the engagement with that programme, hence we decided to extend that partnership to the Uber Eats programme in 2020.Sami Dabbour
Senior Strategy and Operations Manager at Uber
A pilot programme was launched at Uber Eats, involving diamond and platinum couriers. Sami explains: “When delivering trips, couriers earn points. These points qualify them for certain tiers in the Uber Eats programme. Diamond and platinum members can access the perks with The Open University. Specifically, platinum members can access short courses (one per quarter) and diamond members can access microcredentials (two per year).”
Sami says it has already had a noticeably positive effect. “Given the current job market in the UK, we believe these perks will provide the differentiating factor for couriers to work and collaborate with Uber Eats.”
Simon Tindall, Director of Skills and Innovation at the OU, says these partnership programmes with Uber Eats and Uber Rides reflect the move towards lifelong learning, enabling workers to top up existing skills and potentially change their career trajectory. For the Uber Eats couriers, the learning offered has been adapted from the Uber Rides programme to reflect their different needs. “The couriers tend to be younger than the drivers and subsequently, their educational objectives and needs are slightly different,” says Simon. “They tend to be studying shorter, more industry focussed courses.”
Offering new opportunities for couriers
Isaac Paha, an Uber Eats courier who moved to the UK three years ago from Ghana, has been improving his IT skills through the OU learning programme. He had a job prior to working as a courier for Uber Eats, but found that he didn’t have time to study. He realised that switching to working as a courier would enable him to make time for studying as well as earning money. Then he found out that he could ‘earn and learn’ through the OU with Uber Eats so he looked at what was available.
When he was younger, he had been set on a footballing career, but injuries prevented him from pursuing that dream. “So I had to have a second plan and I’ve always loved IT, so when I saw that opportunity with Uber, I decided to go for it.” And it has been a resounding success for him – he likes the flexibility of being a courier for Uber Eats combined with the flexibility of OU study. “This programme has brought hope and ambition to me. Before I could only dream of becoming an IT professional but Uber, through this sponsorship, made it a reality.”