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OCN London ushers in a new era of addressing Londoners skills needs by announcing an exciting new partnership with Birkbeck, University of London

Monday 13th November 2023

OCN London and Birkbeck, University of London have announced the formation of a strategic partnership that will transform routes to higher education for Londoners of all ages and backgrounds.

Birkbeck University, a renowned research university situated in the heart of the capital, offer flexible higher education options for people who live and work in Greater London, and have earned their reputation for being particularly supportive of mature students looking to gain a degree level education.

OCN London, an established international awarding organisation based in Angel Islington, have been operational for over 50 years and are known for their commitment to transforming people’s lives through learning, with a focus on developing pre-degree qualifications in response to the needs of local communities and employers.

The partnership will concentrate on accreditation of skills delivery and training to support employability and employment, the development of a green and digital skills curriculum in response to employer and learner needs, as well as a concerted focus on key thought leadership and education research projects.

Carlos Cubillo-Barsi, CEO of OCN London, said,

We are excited to join hands with Birkbeck University to create meaningful education and employment opportunities for Londoners. We believe that this partnership will have a big impact on both learners and employers, particularly when it comes to green and digital skills development, and will pave the way for a brighter and more prosperous future for all.

The partnership is also expected to enable and mobilise Londoners to access higher education opportunities, whatever their background or situation, and remove barriers to gaining a degree education and sustainable career paths.

Learners at Birkbeck University have a variety of flexibilities available to them on how and when they learn, with 78% of current learners already in part or full time employment, making learning accessible alongside working and earning, with many attending teaching sessions in the evening. The average age of a learner is 33 years and similarly, in 2022/23, over 70% of learners registered onto OCN London qualifications were aged 21 or over, showing cohesive learner demographics across both organisations.

Matt Innes, Deputy Vice Chancellor at Birkbeck said,

Birkbeck is delighted to announce its new partnership with the Open College Network, here in London. This brings together Birkbeck, which stands out as a university committed to opening up Higher Education to Londoners with working and caring responsibilities, with the Open College Network and its portfolio of pre-degree provision aimed at opening up education and skills to adults. The signing of a memorandum of understanding is a wonderful way to cement the missions of our two organisations, by working together to address London’s skills needs, academic goals, and growth ambitions. We will be working together to benefit Londoners and London employers, as well as a range of other partners, through an ambitious partnership to co-develop learning pathways from level 1 through to level 7 – that is from entry level through to post-graduate study. It also comes exactly 200 years after the foundation of Birkbeck. What a wonderful way to further demonstrate our strategic and civic commitment to adults and lifelong learning as we head into our third century.

If you would like to find out more about opportunities available at Birkbeck University, please visit their website at https://www.bbk.ac.uk to explore.

If you are interested in discussing partnership and collaborative opportunities with OCN London, please contact us to arrange an initial chat with our innovation team.

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