Showcasing the Best of Welsh Business

The Open University: Opening Employers’ Eyes. Opening Employees’ Minds.


Open Uni

Since the 1960s, The Open University (OU) has been on a mission to make education available to everyone. Today, it’s an undisputed leader of flexible distance learning in the UK, helping people of all ages and backgrounds gain the confidence and skills they need to succeed in their working lives.

That mission to help everyone realise their potential is what motivates Rhys Griffiths, Business Relationship Manager for the OU in Wales – and we spoke with Rhys about his role in engaging employers in Wales, opening eyes to what the Open University can deliver as part of an organisation’s learning and development programme .

“A trusted learning provider, skilling people to meet challenges and grasp opportunities”

“Over the past 50 years, The Open University has become a trusted learning provider, helping millions of people realise their hopes, dreams and ambitions. In many ways, we were ahead of our time: enabling people to learn remotely, in a way that’s right for them: tailoring our courses around their lifestyles, learning styles and working commitments. Given our philosophy of shaping learning around the needs and circumstances of our learners, we believe that our time has now truly arrived, given today’s requirement for employers and employees to continually skill, reskill and upskill for all the challenges and opportunities of this fourth industrial age.”

“Embracing degree apprenticeships, engaging short courses and impactful microcredential courses”

“Over the years, we’ve evolved from offering a wide-range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, to fully embracing degree apprenticeships and developing new and exciting microcredential courses – all geared to delivering relevant and impactful continuous  professional development where it matters most, in the real world. We want to help employers stand out by giving them an employment brand built on offering valuable learning to their employees – nurturing a reputation for learning and development which will attract the talent they need, as well as developing that talent to stay and prosper with the organisation. We see this ‘learning as a benefit’ being a major part of any employment promise in the future; and we’re helping make that a reality for all types of employers.”

“We want to help create employment brands that attract, retain and develop the talent that employers need.”  

“We’re already regarded as a leader in the world of online education. We want to engage with employers, collaborating with them to understand their learning and development needs; and putting in place the training programmes that are right for them and everyone in their enterprise.

“That means working to make the most of an organisation's budget and being as flexible as any enterprise needs us to be. Whether you’re a plc in Cardiff, a manufacturer in the valleys, a rural enterprise in mid-Wales or one of the emerging green economy businesses in north and west Wales, we can help you skill and continually reskill your people, empowering everyone in your workforce to achieve their full potential – and making you an employer of choice. And we really can help with the development needs of any employee. Over 14,500 people in Wales already trust us to provide them with the right learning programme – and 45% of those students come from disadvantaged communities. We know what it means to engage with people of all ages and backgrounds, giving them the tutorial and personalised support they need to succeed.”

“We’re the university for everyone, everywhere in Wales”

“That emphasis on personalised support is a key advantage that we offer to employees and employers alike. For the first time, there are now five generations in the workplace and we have designed our programmes to help everyone realise their potential; and keep learning throughout their working lives. So, you could say we are the university for everyone in Wales. We are the local university – delivering learning anywhere, from a training room to a kitchen table, giving the student control over their development, and giving an employer the confidence that they’re investing in programmes designed by experts who know what distance learning is all about.”

“Programmes designed by experts who know what distance learning is all about”

“Over the next few weeks, we’ll be holding a number of digital discussions with and for employers, hosted by Business News Wales – and I hope organisations tune in and feed back to us on what they hear. We’re open to any conversation with any employer anywhere in Wales – and I’m looking forward to helping unleash the tremendous potential we have here in the workplaces of Wales, through our learning platform and programmes.”

For more information on how the Open University can help you and your organisation skill for the future, please contact Rhys Griffiths at