Part-time study delivers £3 billion boost to UK economy, says OU

Nov 10, 2014

New research reveals the economic impact of the OU to be more than £3 billion and the OU is supporting this year’s conference of employers organisation the CBI.

With more than 70% of the OU’s 200,000 students combining their studies with work, the university is using the conference to highlight the benefits of part-time education to the UK economy and businesses.

More than 80% of FTSE 100 companies have paid for staff to study with the OU, benefiting from students being able to apply their learning directly to the workplace throughout their studies rather than waiting until they finish their course.

OU commercial director Steve Hill said: “As the CBI itself recognised last year, the skills gap facing the UK cannot be closed by traditional universities alone. 

"More than 70% of our country’s 2020 working population are already in the workplace, meaning businesses need to harness this resource and help it develop now if we are to remain competitive in the global economy.” 

The conference, which began in London today (Monday), comes as new research by London Economics puts the value of The Open University to the UK economy at more than £3 billion. 

The research, commissioned by the OU to support its business planning, also found that around 70% of OU students said their studies had directly increased their ability to do their job.

The OU’s director of communications Lucian Hudson said: “The CBI is the voice of British business, and has a vital role to play in ensuring the conditions are right for our economy to flourish and grow. 

"Making sure our national workforce has the necessary skills is a key part of this, which is why I am very pleased the OU – as our country’s largest university – is once again supporting the CBI to promote the benefits of flexible, part-time learning.” 

Many major employers, including FirstGroup, Babcock International and the NHS in England have worked with the OU to introduce programmes for their staff which deliver consistent learning experiences and support growth. 

The Open University Business School’s MBA programme – which is celebrating its 25th anniversary – has provided practice-based learning to more than 24,000 of the world’s current and future business leaders. 

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