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Home > News > October 2006 > 17 October 2006

Unionlearn signs agreement with The Open University

The Open University and unionlearn have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that aims to encourage 4,000 union members a year into higher education. By 2010, unionlearn aims to recruit 250,000 new learners each year.

The Open University's head of union liaison, Alan Carr, described the agreement as "one of the most exciting and significant developments for the university, opening up massive opportunities".

Mr Carr added: "The TUC's 6.6 million affiliated members will get advice and direct access to the whole range of OU courses, with specially agreed course fees for members taking their first 30 or 60 point course at level 1."

Ian Borkett, unionlearn standards and quality manager said: "The OU is about offering new opportunities to adult learners which aren't available through traditional routes, and it has a very good reputation for getting adult learners into higher education and supporting them through the flexible modes of learning they use.

"Signing the memorandum of understanding with The Open University takes us one step closer to unionlearn's goal of offering union learners the chance to go as far as they would like to progress."

The memorandum of understanding was signed at the Union Learning Fund Conference, held last week at Congress House and addressed by the secretary of state for education and skills, Alan Johnson.

One of the first items on the agenda is a joint research project with The Open University and a number of affiliate unions investigating the nuts and bolts of widening participation; the findings are likely to be ready by the end of this year.

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