The Open University joins The 5% Club to further drive earn and learn opportunities



The OU is joining The 5% Club, employer-led movement which champions investment in the next generation through workplace training.

The initiative which boasts a huge range of industry and businesses as members was established by Leo Quinn, Group CEO of Balfour Beatty, to create a shared prosperity across the UK by driving, “earn and learn” skills training opportunities.

Members who join the network must aim for 5% of their workforce to be earning and learning. The OU has 8% of their workforce earning and learning and signs The 5% Club Charter in a shared commitment to help the UK’s growth agenda and to play a part in addressing the UK’s acute skills mis-match.

Caragh Molloy, Group People Director, The Open University said:

“The OU is delighted to be partnering with The 5% Club. Our social mission and purpose clearly resonate with the whole ethos of this initiative to support people into learning at any point in life regardless of background, circumstances or prior qualifications.

“The OU has so many different routes into the earn and learn market with undergraduate study, apprenticeships across different standards and levels and all of our free learning content on our OpenLearn platform.

“This partnership is a great opportunity to reinforce our commitment to provide educational opportunities for our staff and to share best practice with a new community with a shared vision and builds on other OU partnerships with employers supporting learning as a benefit.”

Leo Quinn, Founder of The 5% Club and Group Chief Executive of Balfour Beatty said:

“We’re delighted to welcome The OU to The 5% Club, which spans all sizes and sectors of UK employers. What unites us is a shared public commitment to providing ‘earn and learn’ programmes to help create a skilled UK workforce while providing everyone with stronger career paths.

“Never has this been more important than in the current economic crisis created in the wake of COVID-19, which is falling so heavily on the unskilled. It is terrific to see the OU – a byword for flexible, accessible training – providing such opportunities within its own workforce.”



Notes to Editors

About The 5% Club

The 5% Club, founded by Leo Quinn, Group CEO of Balfour Beatty in 2013, is a movement of more than 500 employers providing ‘earn and learn’ opportunities to develop the skills and talents people need to become more employable and create meaningful careers. Companies joining The 5% Club commit to raising the number of apprentices, sponsored students and graduates on formal programmes to 5% of their total workforce within five years. Existing members range from SMEs to FTSEs and cover a number of diverse industries, from engineering through to the legal sector.

About The Open University

The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK, with a long heritage in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 2 million students, and it currently has over 175,000, including 126,000 directly registered, students, operating across all four nations. The OU is also one of the largest providers of higher and degree apprenticeships, with over 2,400 apprentices on programme, working with over 650 employers.

The OU’s mission is to be Open to people, places, methods and ideas. For most of its undergraduate qualifications and apprenticeships, there are no academic entry requirements. The OU believes students should have the opportunity to succeed irrespective of their previous experiences of education. One in ten of all undergraduate entrants from disadvantaged areas study at the OU and the university is the 11th biggest provider for disadvantaged young people.