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The Open University in the North West

In the North West

Our regional centre is open during office hours for information and advice although if you have a specific query it is best to let us know in advance so we can make sure we have someone available to help. We also have a library of all our current course materials for you to browse.

There are over 30 local study centres spread throughout the North West region, where tutorials for a selection of our courses are held. Regional centre staff will be happy to advise on what is likely to be offered in each location.


Working within the local community

Some work is done outside the regional centre and in the local community. Promotions and information events are planned throughout the region. Regional centre staff will be happy to advise on anything happening in your area in the near future or you can check the list of local events near you.

We are also always keen to explore new opportunities to promote the OU in the North West region.


Working to Widen Participation

The region places a high priority on activities which seek to widen participation from groups who are traditionally under-represented in higher education.

Aimhigher is a government initiative to raise participation in higher education and the Regional Centre hosts the Aimhigher Greater Manchester Coordination Unit.

Also the region is heavily involved in Aimhigher Lancashire activities.

A further project funded by the University's Centre for Widening Participation has been seeking to increase awareness of the Open University in the minority ethnic populations of Blackburn and Oldham.

Aimhigher Greater Manchester Coordination Unit

The Aimhigher Greater Manchester Coordination Unit is based at The Open University in the North West. Aimhigher Greater Manchester is part of a national campaign working to encourage more people to consider entering higher education and help them succeed in gaining a place.

AimHigher students with poet Lemn Sissay

AimHigher students with poet Lemn Sissay

The Aimhigher Greater Manchester partnership includes six higher education institutions, further education and 6th form colleges, schools, Connexions, work based learning providers, museums, art galleries and other organisations. Together they are developing a range of activities, from small scale to Greater Manchester wide, which are designed to attract and encourage admissions to higher education particularly from those groups and communities where participation rates are lower than average.

Current activities include:

• A young peoples' university
• Staff development
• Information and brochures listing HE provision in Greater Manchester
• Student ambassadors
• Visits to colleges and universities and taster sessions
• Expanding progression routes into higher education
• Public lectures and masterclasses
• Mentoring
• Curriculum enrichment activities
• Preparation for HE study programmes

The Open University in the North West has also been the lead partner in the development of the uni4me and college4us websites and can help prospective students answer questions and make up their minds about their study options.

Screenshot of Uni4Me website
Screenshot of college4us website

Aimhigher Greater Manchester produces a regular newsletter with updates of its activities. Please contact the Regional Centre ( if you would like to be included on the circulation list.
If you require any additional information about the work of Aimhigher Greater Manchester visit the website

Aimhigher Lancashire

The region is represented on the Steering Group for Lancashire and chairs a Development and Advisory Group for Work Based Learning and Under-represented Groups.

A partnership has been established with Lancaster University for development activities which include:

1. investigating the needs of young unemployed adults in Blackpool and Fylde and in Blackburn and Hyndburn
2. developing vocational taster programmes for modern apprentices
3. developing a web site promoting work based and vocational education

For further information on these activities please email the Regional Centre (

Minority ethnic populations of Blackburn and Oldham

In Blackburn a partnership has been established with Blackburn Lifelong Learning. Also, in partnership with Connecting Communities, a group of 13 Asian women successfully studied the Openings programme: Understanding Children (Y156) and attended a course choice briefing at the Regional Centre.

In Oldham two Muslim women students have been appointed as Student Ambassadors to work on raising awareness of the Open University in the local community.

For more information on this project please email the Regional Centre (


Working with young people in schools

If your school is interested in talking about opportunities for curriculum enhancement with the Open University, please contact Elaine Walker at the regional centre.
For more information look at:


Supporting learning whilst working

In the North West region nearly 4,000 students are sponsored by their employers to study with us.

If you are interested in developing your staff, do contact us to see learning objectives can be met for both the organisation and prospective students.

If you would like to consider the ways in which The Open University might help your organisation to meet its human resource development goals, please contact the regional centre.
The Open University School of Health and Social Welfare in the North West provides an excellent range of education and training resources ideal for meeting individual and organisational needs of those in the health and social care sectors. We are working particularly closely with the NHS to support changing agendas. We have some exciting collaborative projects contributing to the development of lifelong learning in the workplace and helping students to climb the "skills escalator". Our experience shows that Open University courses provide ideal opportunities for multi-professional and multi-agency working. Amongst our many innovative projects we have partnership projects with hospices and hospital units to deliver our course Death and Dying (K260); and with public health and health promotion organisations to deliver Health Promotion: skills, perspectives and practice (K301). A partnership with NHS professionals and Unison is enabling health workers to develop their knowledge and skills through courses such as our level one course Understanding Health and Social Care (K100).

For further information please contact Janine Talley at the regional centre.


Linking with other higher education providers

We take an active role in the North West Universities Association which represents all of the higher education institutions in the region. We are also members of the Greater Manchester Strategic Alliance and the Liverpool City of Learning ensuring that students can transfer easily between study with The Open University and other institutions in the two cities.
We also aim to take full advantage of regional initiatives which are open to us to work in partnership to promote the Open University and the region to our best advantage.


Lancashire Lifelong Learning Network

We are proud to be part of the Lancashire Lifelong Learning Network which has over 40,000 learning opportunities for vocational learners in Lancashire

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