The CBI predicts that by 2022 50% of jobs will require skills like foundation degrees, professional diplomas or higher, yet has found that many workers find it hard to progress from entry level positions.
It’s prompted a call for greater access to higher “education routes that allow people to earn and learn” at the same time, in order to support career progression and boost UK business productivity.
In Yorkshire and Humberside, more than one in seven people have 2 A Levels or the equivalent, but no degree.
Dr Philip Hallam, CEO of RDI – the UK’s leading provider of UK university qualifications by distance learning – believes that one of the best ways Yorkshire & Humberside businesses can help, is to encourage workers to explore online higher education opportunities.
Businesses want the best for their employees but it can be daunting, particularly for SMEs, to be set a challenge of improving access to education and skills training.
Some companies may be able to offer bespoke programmes but for many, this isn’t realistic. Helping staff to find out more about online learning options – from HNDs and Advanced Diplomas to UK university degrees and MBAs – is.
Studying for higher education qualifications online can help individuals upskill without having to step off the career ladder, and immediately implement those skills in a practical workplace environment – benefiting both employee and employer.
As part of ‘Learning at Work Week’, RDI is encouraging Yorkshire & Humberside businesses to take up the ‘three fact challenge’ and promote three facts about online learning to workers interested in gaining additional qualifications.
1) Online distance learners are eligible for student finance from the Student Loans Company. Affordability is an important benefit, as studying online for an HE qualification with a distance learning provider is a lot less expensive than traditional face-to-face courses. But what many don’t know is that as well as courses being less expensive, distance learners can also be entitled to student loans (subject to all the usual eligibility criteria.)
2) Work experience often counts towards course eligibility. To enrol on any online higher education course there will be eligibility requirements and assessment. But in many instances, workplace experience – particularly for business qualifications – is taken into account. This often means people are more eligible than they may at first think.
3) Studying online for a higher education qualification is a flexible way to balance study, work and home life. Online learning courses enable individual to study in a way which suits their life and at their own pace. With course materials often available in multi-device formats – students can even learn on their lunch hour or during their daily commute to work.
Dr Philip Hallam, said:
Around 90% of RDI students work while studying and over half of them tell us that their primary motivation is career progression – for many it is the best route to study for the skills they need to advance without having to take a career break. By finding out more about online learning and helping employees access information, UK businesses can really make a big difference in their own future.