24 Feb 2012

Acas partners with The Open University to develop new qualification

The first graduates of a unique qualification from The Open University are helping Acas provide the latest employment law advice. The Open University (OU) and Acas created the Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Professional Practice (Employment Law Advice) which builds on existing training and development undertaken by Acas advisers and includes modules such as emerging employment issues, contractual issues and discrimination.
The OU worked with Acas to create specific modules on employment law, which are directly relevant to its advisers’ work. The combined course content is recognised as a fully accredited Postgraduate qualification.
In addition to receiving a qualification to further their in-house training, the course has helped the Acas students expand their knowledge of up-to-date employment law. With Acas advisers based across Britain, the OU’s flexible online learning method was more practical and cost-effective than regular face to face workshops.

The tailored qualification demonstrates the OU’s capability to design and deliver customised, high-quality bespoke learning solutions for employers. As students take responsibility for their own development by learning online, the course also increases their capacity for research and self-reflection.

Jacky Hinton, Assistant Associate Dean, Curriculum Solutions, said: “The close collaboration between the OU and Acas allowed us to develop a qualification that not only enhanced employment law knowledge and developed reflective and research skills, but also provided a good fit with the existing roles that advisers were performing, making it directly relevant to their practice.”

The first group of twenty-one Acas helpline adviser graduates were presented with certificates by John Taylor, Acas Chief Executive, at a ceremony at the OU’s London office last month.
John Taylor, Acas Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted with the success of our Helpline Advisers in achieving this qualification. Acas has been offering advice to employers and employees for over 35 years. We set very high standards when it comes to supporting our staff and our Helpline Advisers are extremely well respected for the quality of advice they give. This qualification is demanding, but I am confident it will make them all even better advisers and enhance their careers.”
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Notes to editors
• The Acas Helpline provides free, impartial advice to employers and employees is open from 8-8pm Monday to Friday, 8-1pm on Saturdays.
• Acas advisers handle over 900,000 calls a year providing up-to-date advice and guidance on the latest changes in employment law and workplace good practice.

For further information from The Open University Press Office contact Christine Drabwell,, 01908 858673, 07990 827027
For media enquiries for Acas call Lou Owen, Media and Marketing Officer on 020 7210 3920/or Clare Carter PR Manager on 020 7210 3688.

About The Open University
The Open University (OU) is the largest higher education institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 1.7 million students and has more than 264,000 current students, including 20,000 overseas, learning in their own time using course materials, online activities and content, web-based forums and tutorials and through tutor groups and residential schools.
The OU has been highly rated for teaching quality, and has been at the top of student satisfaction rankings in the National Student Survey since it was introduced in 2005. 70% of students are in full-time or part-time employment, and three out of four FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU courses.
The OU supports a vibrant research portfolio and in the UK's latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008), the University climbed 23 places to 43rd, securing a place in the UK's top 50 higher education institutions.
Regarded as Britain’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units on OpenLearn, which has had more than 20 million visitors, and materials on iTunes U, which has recorded over 47 million downloads. The OU has a 40 year partnership with the BBC which has moved from late-night lectures in the 1970s to prime-time programmes such as Frozen Planet, Stargazing Live and Protecting Our Children.

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