Open University Pathway to a Degree programme at Rolls-Royce

7 Apr

– by Pat McIlvogue

Unite members at both Rolls-Royce Inchinnan and Rolls-Royce East Kilbride factories are undertaking an Engineering Degree programme with the Open University. We currently have a total of 30 members on the programme, with 18 at Inchinnan and 12 at East Kilbride.

The programme was developed to give our members opportunities to continue their journey in lifelong learning. It enables members who had served their apprenticeship but for various reasons could not carry on their vocational learning. This programme give members the opportunity to get back into learning and fits into the progression path that Unite provides for its members through our Lifelong Learning department in Scotland.

The results from this unique pilot programme have been fantastic with all members passing their monthly Tutor Marked Assessments and their end of year exam all with high pass marks. The Unite/Open University programme differs from normal Open University programmes; members on this programme enjoy all the usual support that the Open University gives to students but also benefit from one to one, face to face session with tutors within the workplace, group tutorial work carried out at the Glasgow Caledonian University on a Saturday morning, peer support groups within the workplace and Union Learning Rep support within the workplace. These support mechanisms have ensured a wonderful retention rate with drop out of students on the course significantly lower than normal Open University courses.

The progress of the programme is monitored by a Steering Group consisting of Unite Learning Organiser, the Open University Lead Tutors, Open University Business Manager, Rolls-Royce HR Business Partner and Rolls-Royce Production Leader. This Steering Group is a further support to members where any issues with the programme are managed.

The degree programme is funded through a Collective Learning Fund, with contributions from Rolls-Royce, Skills Development Scotland and the learners themselves.

Unite’s Lifelong Learning department in Scotland is set for further talks with the Open University to see what other sectors and employers that we can roll out this successful model for our members in Scotland. We will keep your workplace ULRs informed of developments – be in touch if you would like to be part of the programme.


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