The Open University (OU) has a long and successful track record in developing and delivering innovation in social work education. We are approved to deliver social work education in England and Wales as well as in Scotland, and the total number of social workers qualifying through the OU makes us the largest provider of part-time social work education in the UK and a significant contributor to social work and social care practice. Our curriculum and practice learning model is based on tried and tested partnership with employers, social work practitioners, and practice educators. In 1995, the OU was funded by the Department of Health to develop and deliver a work-based Diploma in Social Work (DipSW) to increase the number and calibre of social workers. The first social workers in Scotland to be trained through the OU programme completed their DipSW in 1999 and we have been working with employers every year since to offer our innovative, work-based approach to help them grow their own practitioners. Overall the OU DipSW enabled 3, 002 social workers to enter the profession 619 of whom qualified in Scotland. With the introduction of an all-graduate profession, we developed our BA in Social Work, which we first presented in 2001. We developed parallel degree curricula specific to the needs of Scotland, England and Wales and aligned to the professional and regulatory requirements for each nation. To date there have been 2,835 OU social work graduates across the UK, 486 on the designated Scotland degree.
Source: Roger Davis, Head of Social Work