The WEA and The Open University's Centre for Inclusion and Collaborative Partnerships are working together with a network of organisations who have a shared commitment to extending higher education opportunities to all those who can benefit. This follows the signing of partnership agreement between the OU and the WEA.

The organisations involved include to date:

  • Unison
  • Unionlearn
  • Association of Colleges
  • Leonard Cheshire Disability
  • National Extension College
  • Learning and Work Institute
  • The Open University
  • Learndirect
  • National Council for Voluntary Organisations

The aim of the Social Partnerships Network is to jointly drive the social inclusion agenda and develop sustainable ways of reaching out to potential adult learners. We are working together to develop strategies and activities that lead to the creation of a more diverse HE system able to meet the needs of diverse learners, supporting lifelong learning, social mobility and workplace learning, improving economic growth and health and welfare.

The networks initial areas of activity are:

  • Reciprocal signposting
  • Creating stories
  • Use of free educational content
  • Development and promotion of free learning guides which will be badged
  • Joint lobbying/campaigning
  • Research and evaluation

A new portal has been created to enable Social Partnership members and students to gain access to free learning resources specifically for their needs. The categories included so far are:

  • Skills for Work
  • Health and Social Care
  • Children and Education
  • Developing Study Skills
  • Leadership and Management
  • Voluntary Sector
  • Computer Skills
  • Developing Personal Skills
  • Maths

Each category provides a selection of free units and can give an idea of what other units and resources can be found on OpenLearn. To explore these resources visit OpenLearn