From education to employment

Solihull education business celebrates 15th anniversary with student milestone and purpose-driven ambitions

Leading distance learning provider, Open Study College (OSC), is celebrating its 15th anniversary following a rewarding year which has seen them reach their 110,000 student milestone, turnover increase from £5m to nearly £6.5m, and operating profits that have increased from £200,000 to more than 10 times that in the last decade.

Led by Samantha Rutter who founded Open Study College with her father Mark Rutter, the well-established, family-owned and run business has gone from strength to strength. Today they offer the largest selection of distance learning courses in the market. 

Celebrating at a special anniversary event that took place at their headquarters in Solihull this week, OSC marked the occasion by presenting Georgie Moseley, the founder of local Birmingham cancer charity and a cause close to their heart, Help Harry Help Others (HHHO), with a £5,000 cheque, bringing its total donations to a staggering £16,000 to date. 

Putting purpose ahead of profit, OSC has supported the Birmingham charity for a number of years. As part of its anniversary celebrations, OSC and their employees have also pledged to offer 150 voluntary hours to great local causes handpicked by the team, including HHHO.

Since 2007, when the family identified a gap in the market for fully supported distance learning, over 110,000 students have enrolled with OSC and improved their lives. Fifteen years on, the education provider now employs over 50 people and works with over 70 tutors globally.

Specialising in high-quality distance learning, in the last two years alone OSC has partnered with Birmingham City Council on its £12m Supplier Skills Programme to help SMEs upskill their workforces; launched a recruitment arm of the business; and announced its new B2B offering to encourage learning and development in the workplace. The learning provider has also heavily invested in their technology and people through their substantial commitment to improving systems, enabling them to welcome even more learners and offering them a fully integrated journey.

In recent months, OSC launched a new Access to HE Diploma in Public Services following the success of their first Access to HE Diploma in Health. This launch provides their learners with the skills and knowledge to pursue careers in the police force, legal, and criminology sectors.

With family at the heart, an ethos set from the get-go, OSC is firmly focussed on inclusivity, believing that everyone should have access to an education. 

Samantha Rutter, CEO at Open Study College, commented: “I still remember some of our early successes like it was yesterday. Our first student case studies, when we developed and added qualifications to our own courses, won our first award for Small Provider of the Year in 2014, being named one of the UK’s Top 50 Most Ambitious Business Leaders by LDC and The Daily Telegraph, and our big move into our new HQ in 2019 followed by opening our second office in Coleshill last year.

“Our secret is chasing quality rather than quantity. Success for Open Study College has and always will be synonymous with the success and achievements of our learners. Consistently improving and evolving to meet the needs of our learners is our top priority and one we’ll never lose sight of. It is our dedication and commitment to our people, both our learners and our employees, that drives retention and growth, and this has been our approach for the last 15 years.”

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