Further Education courses are correspondence courses that mainly impart technical skills to enrolled candidates. The idea behind designing these modules is to provide the necessary academic and practical knowledge to candidates that have utility in the industrial environment. They are different from degree courses offered by British universities in the sense that students can opt for them both as part-time and full-time enrollees.
The structure of Further Education in Britain
The further educational culture in Britain is common among people who have left school or could not continue their degree courses. It is also suitable for those who wish to pursue an education at their own pace or from home. Hence, it offers a pretty good amount of flexibility while educating people correspondingly.
Southern England itself has more than 20 colleges and institutes that provide open learning in various streams. The courses are diverse, and one can choose from fields like –
These courses are decided by information sourced from Labour markets and employers at the regional and local level. The qualifications in the form of certifications and diplomas reflect the necessities and requirements of the job market.
While some of these institutes providing open learning are vast with numerous courses to choose from, others specialise in a few areas only.
Qualifications for getting admission to open learning courses
The courses offered by open learning colleges do not require any minimum educational qualification. For example, in the case of degree courses, you must have a GCSE level certificate or an equivalent qualification that is recognised. However, for open learning, anyone can enrol for the first-level courses irrespective of their educational background.
However, for courses of the upper level like HND/HNC along with degree courses, one needs to fulfil the respective educational requirement.
The environment of open learning colleges
These colleges are neither full-fledged universities nor do they operate at the level of schools. Nevertheless, the culture provides necessary support for learning and practising skill-related training. All in all, the environment in these institutes are conducive for learning and growth.
The full-time courses offered by these institutes involve a maximum of 16 hours a week. Thus, it gives them an opportunity to work simultaneously.
Why are the courses more prefered by people aged 16 to 18?
Although there are no age limits for enrolling in the open learning course, they are mostly preferred by students in the age group of 16 to 18. It is because –
- The courses provide vocational education which helps them get a first-hand experience of tools and techniques required in their chosen field of work. They help the students develop and enhance the necessary skills required for getting a job.
- The courses available through open learning provide them with an opportunity to pursue special branches of study without a requirement for minimum eligibility criteria.
- Many students happen to have left school education. In that case, it would be impossible to continue regular degree courses from universities. So, they can pursue their higher education by enroling for the open learning courses.
Qualifications and certifications open learning offers:
1. Vocational content
Covering the broader aspect of subjects, courses providing with vocational education train a candidate to fit in diverse employment environments. Some of the broad categories include health, business, social care, etc.
2. GCSE/Level A certification
The A-level certifications may vary depending on the different colleges and universities. However, all will mandatorily have the subjects – Math and English.
- Practical courses
Also known as professional or technical programs, these courses are practical-based. They train a candidate for specific technical jobs like engineering, plumbing, hairdressing, and the likes.
While undertaking an apprenticeship, a student provides an employer with his/her paid services throughout the course. The assessment is carried out either at the place they work or by visiting the enrolled institute once per week.
4. Courses for preparation of higher education
The courses make a student eligible to apply for Art courses above level A or Access courses.
5. Higher educational courses – vocational
They are practical training courses which certify a student with degrees like HNCs, HNDs and the foundation level.
- Leisure learning
Mostly taken up as part-time courses, these learning programs are focused on a candidate’s hobbies, interest, etc.
- Foundational courses
The foundational courses are more focused on developing a student’s basic academic skills and making them employable. You can try out different vocations and choose the one that suits you the best.
6. Courses for international students
The courses are mainly aimed to impart fluency in English to non-UK students.
With these many available options, you can choose the one that best suits your skills and interest. Pursue open learning to gain new skill-sets while earning to enhance your efficiency.