In the past, schools have encouraged their leavers to pursue a university career and continue their education to degree level. The recent law changes mean that it is compulsory to continue education in some capacity until the end of the school year in which the pupil turns 17.
The continued compulsory education can be varied – some might continue with college, others might take up apprenticeships, or you can study for a trade part time whilst in employment.
The idea of studying at university and racking up a five figure debt before you’ve even begun to spread your wings in the world is something a lot of students won’t give much thought to, daunting for others, and for some, completely puts them off the idea.
There’s loads of other ways you can study, with everything from level two gym instructor courses to teaching assistant training and more available for you to take from the comfort of home.
Who are distance courses suitable for?
Distance learning has, in the past, been a byword of the mature student. They were often taken up by those who had seen something of the world, experienced working life and debt, and would rather be able to manage their finances whilst working than take out loans to cover both the massive course costs and rising living expenses.
It’s particularly appealing because your lifestyle doesn’t have to change significantly from what you are used to. If you’re taking up the course later in life, you can carry on working, looking after your family, and doing whatever you normally do, while studying in your free time, at your own speed, and ending up with a really useful qualification.
Learn while you earn
If you’re a school leaver looking for an alternative to the massive debt accrued through a university course, distance learning can work for you as well. The finance is more reasonable, and you can work while you’re learning. This is beneficial not only in that you will be able to support yourself through the course, but also you are gaining valuable work experience.
Unless you choose to do a sandwich course at university which incorporates a year in industry, you might leave and find yourself too qualified for some jobs, while not experienced enough for others. It’s the plague of the degree generation. You will be told that you can come out of university able to get into the best paid jobs, with starting salaries nearly as high as the national average for all workers. You could have trained as in sports science, but without the relevant experience might find it very difficult to find a role in fitness or as a level two gym instructor.
But when the world and his wife has a degree or certificate of further education, there needs to be something which will make you stand out. Because you’re studying for a particular career such as becoming a level two gym instructor, you’ll have more direction that you might have had otherwise.
Working while you learn is an ideal combination. You’ll have time to work as many hours as you need in a paid position – full time if you want to – and if you’re not lucky enough to find one in your field, you can also volunteer somewhere relevant. It doesn’t need to be exactly what you want to do after you’ve completed your course, but if you show that you’ve tried to gain some relevant skills, you’re more likely to find your application at the top of the pile.
A path less trodden
With so many different courses available, you won’t necessary have to end up in an office like the majority of the UK workforce. Instead, choose something which reflects your interest. By becoming a level two gym instructor you’ll be able to maintain your fitness while you’re working, or teaching training can allow you to work with children in a really rewarding environment.
By working while you’re learning you’ll quickly become a standout candidate for the role you’ve always wanted. And with the vast range of courses available, there is something for everyone.