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Open University. Yes or no?

(20 Posts)
MeMineUs Fri 24-Nov-17 12:09:34

Hi MNers.
I dedicated my early 20s to being a wife and mum full time, my dc are in school, I just have one at home, she is 9 months. Now that I'm nearing 30 I'm starting to think of what career path I want to take.

Doing a course with the Open University would suit me the most. I want to do something the the social work field.

Where do I start? What should I study for to maximise my chance of landing a job. What's the criteria for social work.

Don't want to drip feed but feel free to ask any questions in order to answer mine.

Caroelle Fri 24-Nov-17 12:45:29

To become a social worker you need a degree in social work or a degree plus an M.A in social work. There are other support worker roles in social work, but these are badly paid and are usually the first to go when there are cutbacks. Sometimes local authorities will second support staff on to a degree course ( including via the OU) but many don’t do this now because of the cost. You could do a degree via the OU in the social sciences, but you will still need to do an MA because much of the social worker training is placement based. Getting on a social work degree course is quite competitive.

LuckyBitches Fri 24-Nov-17 12:55:03

I work in postgraduate admissions at a top uni. We really respect the OU; sadly most students come to us from priviledged backgrounds, doing their undergraduate degree straight out of school at some redbrick uni or the other. OU students generally demonstrate an extraordinary level of committment and discipline, and the teaching materials are largely considered excellent. I know this doesn't answer your question, but I hope it encourages you nonetheless!

JustifiedandAncient80 Fri 24-Nov-17 13:03:20

The OU have an excellent helpline team who can answer any questions you have about courses, relevent careers, managing study time, funding etc. If you have a look on the website you can request a calkback from them at a convenient time. Good luck!

OohMrDarcy Fri 24-Nov-17 13:06:26

Big massive yes to the OU from me.

I've just graduated at 36 with a BSc having started on return from maternity leave when my youngest was 1. I think its an incredible institution, and for me - though I've not yet had experience of it being questioned on a CV, I would use it to show dedication, self motivation and incredible juggling skills! Raising 2 DC, working full time, with little support from then husband, going through divorce and moving all whilst completing a degree - whats not to be proud of?!

I have no experience of what you'd need to get into social care, but good luck on your journey!

Raver84 Fri 24-Nov-17 13:07:58

I'm in almost an identical position as you. I have four and last one is a baby and I too want to do social work. I contacted the ou anf you have to be employed in a suitable role with your employers support to start the ou degree. They were helpful so maybe give them a call. I'm have decided to study at a local uni next year then do a master in social work.

Raver84 Fri 24-Nov-17 13:09:08

Sorry to be clearer you need to be employed in a role suitable to start the social work degree with the ou. Other degrees no so.

Leatherboundanddown Fri 24-Nov-17 13:11:06

Yes do it. I did combined social sciences. It took me 5 years but was the best thing I ever did. My graduation day was just amazing. Since I have had lots of success at interviews everyone has been interested and impressed with my OU degree. I also made some friends for life.

Jellycatspyjamas Fri 24-Nov-17 13:24:57

You need to be in a social care role to do social work with the OU - some local authorities will sponsor employees through the decree. If it's SW you're keen on have a look at local universities and see what their degree course looks like. If you can manage another couple of years not working a full time SW degree would only take 3 years.

MeMineUs Fri 24-Nov-17 13:25:01

Big congratulations oohmrdarcy
Leatherboundanddown* I'd be looking to study part time so also looking at around 6 years. So if I start soon, I can look at getting into work when the youngest starts school.

Thank you everyone for replying. I'm expecting the journey to be tough and I know the field is competitive but I am determined and want a career doing something that will fulfil me.

How realistic is it to be able to get a foot in the door without a degree? Something I can do alongside the learning?

signandsingcarols Fri 24-Nov-17 13:42:00

the first year of what would be the BA in social work with the OU comprises two courses (K100 and K115) they are open Modules, so they are open to what the OU calls non sponsored students, this means you can do them without being in a social care post with an employer who will provide placements, if you then get a job with an employer who will sponsor you (this doesn't necessarily mean pay for your course, but does mean they provide theplacements) you can apply to transfer those courses onto the sponsored social work degree, so, this means you don't need to be in social care post to start the degree, but you do to progress from the first year to the 2nd (where the placements start). Good advice from previous poster to investigate with student advisor.
As far as the OU course, did my own degree with them, fabulous! resources top quality. (also taught for them for a number of years, have also worked for other Universities and I rate the OU system highly)

wowbutter Fri 24-Nov-17 14:10:21

Definitely go with the OU!

I did a BA in working with children and young people and a MA in Childhood and youth.
Every job I go for thinks it is amazing. I have done it while bringing up babies and children, and working a mix of different hours and jobs. All in all I did a decade on and off with the OU and intend to complete my PHD with them now too.

Social work is a trickyone. The OU do a social work course, but read thew criteria very carefully. It may be worth ding your BA in a related field, and then making a decision.

MeMineUs Fri 24-Nov-17 14:56:26

I think I need to talk through my options with the OU.

I'm optimistic that I can achieve 16-18 hours a week.

streetlife70s Fri 24-Nov-17 15:10:37

Hi I became a SW through the OU and you do not need to do a SW course. I did my undergrad in Social
Science with Social Policy then joined the government Step Up to Social Work scheme.

You need to have achieved either a 2.1 or first, have maths and English gcse at grade C and above and some experience working with children to apply. You get £20000 to train tax free and achieve a masters in social work after your placement.

Lots of teachers, family suppprt workers and nursery staff have joined the scheme. I went on to do an MA in childhood and youth studies and it has always been well respected. Good luck.

Needadvicetoleave Fri 24-Nov-17 15:18:05

If you want to do your degree in Social Work you'd be best seeing if your nearest uni has one and applying for that. Be aware that you have to do 200 days of placement (whether undergraduate or masters). For undergraduate, 30 days are in your first year, 70 in the second and 100 in the third year. This is regardless of the university (including OU).

A placement 'day' is 7 hours, not including breaks.

I'm a practice educator - which means I support students on placement in the work place and do observations and write reports on their practice.

Life experience stands you in good stead getting on a Social Work course.

MeMineUs Fri 24-Nov-17 16:30:57

Could I claim some sort of childcare for the 200 placement days?

Needadvicetoleave Fri 24-Nov-17 16:35:24

Some students get a bursary. Some of that bursary pays towards fees, and some for living expenses and I think you get extra on the living expenses if you have kids, which could go towards child care.

I'm not sure if you get the bursary if you do it with OU though.

MeMineUs Fri 24-Nov-17 16:45:38

Lots to go through and consider, thank you for the useful advice everyone.
I'm currently contemplating a move closer to my parents and they'd be happy to help with childcare when they can.

streetlife70s Fri 24-Nov-17 17:06:11

There is a childcare grant now in place for full time students yes.

streetlife70s Fri 24-Nov-17 17:06:46

It’s from the government I should have said. Not from the course provider or scheme.

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