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UNIVERSITY Campus Oldham (UCO) is launching an exciting new partnership with The Open University to create greater learning opportunities and flexibility for local students.The Open University (OU) has approved UCO – Oldham College’s Higher Education provision – to begin offering programmes that will lead to OU-validated awards from Autumn this year.

This new partnership is the latest boost to UCO’s growing reputation as an HE provider, which it is showcasing at its first-ever Virtual Open Day online tomorrow (Wednesday, July 8 from 3-6pm)*

The OU partnership starts with the launch of two new courses: a BA (Hons) Accounting and Financial Services, and a BA (Hons) Business Management, with pathways in Marketing and Human Resource Management. Enquiries and applications for both are now open. 

University Campus Oldham already partners with UK universities and industry leaders** to deliver a range of courses with excellent teaching at their heart at both Foundation Degree and full Honours Degree level. 

UCO’s TEF Silver rating*** also puts it on a par with some of the best universities and HE providers in England. 

Alun Francis, Principal and Chief Executive of Oldham College, said: “We’re extremely proud to announce this partnership between University Campus Oldham and The Open University.” 

“It’s fantastic for UCO to be partnering such a respected British institution which is globally recognised as a hallmark of quality and for transforming lives. The OU’s flexible education programmes have enabled millions of people to expand their potential by studying whenever and wherever works best for them – something that really fits with UCO’s ethos and approach.” 

Lorna Swinyard-Jordan, Director, OU Validation Partnerships, said: “We are delighted to welcome University Campus Oldham as a validated partner of The Open University.” 

“This partnership supports our mission, as it has the potential to drive our values of inclusiveness and widening access and participation further.” 

UCO also has a new partnership with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) enabling it to deliver professional courses in leadership and management suited to anyone looking to upskill or develop their career. 

Alun Francis added: “Our first two new OU validated courses are designed to help lead graduates to careers in growth areas for Oldham and the Greater Manchester City Region – including accounting and professional services, finance, marketing and human resource management, plus many others.” 

“Our link-up with the CMI also enables us to deliver courses ideally suited to people looking to upskill, or even change their career. 

“This new suite of business management and accounting courses at UCO applies the skills and knowledge of our expert tutors to supporting local people to get employment-focussed qualifications without having to leave Oldham. Students can also save money on significant costs like travel, accommodation and tuition fees, which makes UCO an attractive option in the light of the uncertainties caused by Coronavirus. 

“Increasing numbers of learners are recognising how UCO can help to remove uncertainties and cut their costs by joining the thousands of students who now choose to get a degree right on their doorstep.” 

At its town centre campus – located just yards from the Oldham Central Metrolink stop – UCO prides itself on providing a close-knit, safe, supportive and positive learning environment. 

Small group sizes offer a personalised learning experience delivered by highly-qualified lecturers with great links to industry and major local firms. 

Alun Francis said: “UCO staff have nurtured a unique learning environment and we have support available for all applicants who might be returning to education after a break, or are looking to retrain in a new area.” 

“Our timetables are also family-friendly because we understand some students have carer responsibilities or need to maintain part-time employment whilst they are studying. 

“Students also tell us that we excel in our support – whether that is delivered face-to-face or online – and we’re committed to delivering a course that supports each individual’s personal development. These are developed with employers to ensure they meet industry needs, and they include workplace experiences and real-world scenarios, plus guest lecturers, specialist competition briefs, attendances at conferences, visits and field trips, and portfolio reviews.” 

The Office for Students’ Judging Panel gave UCO a TEF Silver rating in 2019. It found that students from all backgrounds achieve excellent outcomes and that levels of full-time student satisfaction with assessment, feedback, and academic support are exceptionally high. It also found that UCO offers excellent physical and digital resources, and a highly-regarded Graduate Hub to help students progress into meaningful and sustained employment. 

In the most recent UCO Induction Survey, 97 per cent of students agreed they would recommend UCO to a friend, with 98 per sent saying they ‘felt welcome’ on their first day. 

The 2019 National Student Survey found UCO had an 84 per cent overall satisfaction rating with 92 per cent saying ‘staff are good at explaining things’ and 89 per cent agreeing that ‘My course has challenged me to achieve my best work’. 

UCO, which opened in 2005 and has been part of the Oldham College family since 2012, has helped thousands of students to achieve their goals. 

The easiest way to apply is to go direct to UCO either through this website or by emailing the HE Admissions team at or calling 0161 344 8800.

About the Open University

The Open University was created over 50 years ago to open up education for all. Pioneering new ways of learning to reach more people than any other university, The Open University’s teaching and research is transforming the lives of millions of people around the world. OU students can study for certificates and diplomas of higher education, foundation and honours degrees or postgraduate qualifications. It has around 40,000 students currently studying for OU-validated awards at partner institutions. You can find out more about the OU at * University Campus Oldham’s first-ever ‘Virtual’ Open Day takes place from 3-6pm on Wednesday, July 8. You can pre-register for free to attend here

** UCO’s other partners include UCLAN, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Huddersfield and Pearson.  *** The TEF is a national exercise which assesses excellence in teaching at universities and colleges, and how each higher education provider ensures excellent outcomes for their students in terms of graduate-level employment or further study. You can find out more at the Office for Students website here