How can I combine working with higher education?

How can I combine working with higher education?

Education & Training

Untitled Document

Studying for a new qualification and continuing to work has become an increasingly attractive option for many.

There are a wide range of benefits to Foundation Degrees and other qualifications as the essence of work based learning is that you can either study for a course related to your work, or a subject that can help you change career or enhance your existing career.

Work based learning can improve what you do in your job and get you important qualifications to give you more choice and direction in your profession.

Since colleges and learning providers began to change their philosophies on how students study, and importantly where, the concept of work based learning has become the norm for many returning to education.

Virtual classrooms
The development of the Virtual Learning Environment - an all-in-one online format for getting the most out of studying for online degrees and flexible or distance learning - has meant more students can now study around their work and family commitments.

Work based learning is a specific strand of distance learning, in that it is geared especially for students who need to learn and combine their learning with their jobs.

Study and learning activities are integrated within their jobs, and often the online course will be tailored exclusively, with input from the employer, to make sure the syllabus relates to their work activities and schedule.

This makes it easier for the employer to see the direct benefits of their staff who are studying for a degree online in their own time, and the impact on their work.

Flexibility is key
Often an employer will allow students on work based learning some work time to complete their studies. As the student on work based learning will usually disseminate and apply their new skills and knowledge in the work place, giving the employee time off for work based learning is a sensible investment for companies.

Learning while working but with the aim of changing jobs outside your existing organisation is often better arranged solely by the student, as it is less likely the employer will find it to be of use when the work based learner aims to leave the company.

Even so, an online management course or distance learning business degree online will usually have an immediate positive impact on the student back at work.

Relevant and accessible
Work based learning is about making education relevant to the work place, while teachers have experience in the industries of their students, giving them practical understanding of the work of the students. Thanks to web technologies, work based learning is increasingly convenient, accessible and affordable.

Foundation Degrees play a key role in the Government's strategy for supporting Higher Education to meet the needs of employees and employers.

The NHS, British Telecom, Tesco and Vodafone are just some of the household names working to create relevant work-based courses. With more than 2,000 different courses already available across all sectors of industry, students can also use an existing Foundation Degree programme to enhance their career.

Full details of the qualifications currently available, together with more useful information can be found at


In This Feature