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Access modules available from the Open University

Thumbing through magazineUnison and the Open University have a long history of working together to encourage and support learners to access higher education.

Increase your confidence, develop your studies skills and set the foundations for successful study towards a qualification. Maybe you are looking for study options for personal development or to improve your career prospects or just want to get a feel for what studying with the Open University is like – then read on!

Unison are very keen to provide information and support to all its members. We want to inspire you to take up learning opportunities that will improve your future prospects.

Study OU Access modules for FREE!

If you want to study with the OU but you’re not quite sure you are ready, an OU Access module is the ideal way to prepare.  You may even be able to study for free.  Access modules help you:

  • build confidence and study skills
  • try out the OU’s style of learning
  • get a taste of the subjects we offer

On successful completion, you’ll gain an Access Module Certificate, and you’ll be ready to continue with your OU studies towards a qualification such as a degree.

There's a choice of three modules.   As you work through an Access module, you'll be introduced to skills like reading and writing for study purposes, note-taking and organising your study time – as well as the basic computing skills needed for study and online learning.

The three Access modules available are:

Access modules start in October and February each year.  They are studied over a period of 30 weeks and you should expect to spend approximately 9 hours per week on your studies.

You may be able to study an Access module for FREE.

In order to qualify you must:

  • be resident in the UK (or have a BFPO address)
  • register for an Access module as an additional preparatory stage towards an OU qualification (except in Scotland)
  • have a household income (personal income if resident in Scotland) of less than £25,000 (or be in receipt of qualifying benefits)
  • have no previous experience of study with The Open University
  • have not completed a higher education qualification at NQF level 4 or above

For more information visit or call our Student Recruitment on
0300 303 00693.

Case study: Jagjit Kaur

One barrier to higher education can be a lack of confidence. The Open University’s Openings modules help rebuild self-esteem as well as enhancing skills. Jagjit Kaur is a single parent who works to support herself and her family. She has always wanted to work with children, but wasn’t sure where to go or what she needed to do to have a career in teaching or childcare.

After speaking with an OU advisor, Jagjit was encouraged to study an Openings module, Understanding children (now called Understanding children and young people), suitable for anyone who would like to train to work with children or who are just interested in childhood experiences. The course covers topics in childhood studies, child psychology, social work, healthcare and teaching.

Confidence boost

As she hadn’t done any formal study since leaving school, Jagjit was understandably nervous. However, her success on the course boosted her confidence and persuaded her that she was able to study at this level. She has since enrolled on a longer OU course and now plans to pursue a career in primary teaching. Studying with the OU has given Jagjit the confidence to take up opportunities such as volunteering at her local children’s centre where she can gain the experience she needs in working with children. She now feels proud of her achievements and positive about the future.