How part-time education can boost your career and wellbeing
Whether you want to spend time developing your skills in an existing role, or you’re looking for a complete career change, it often seems that there are not enough hours in the working day to think about the long term. With a demanding workload it can be tempting to switch off during every spare hour, but with the right course your free time can be put to better use – to learn, grow and build your future.
Part-time courses vary in not only subject, but delivery style, length, weekly time commitment and qualification attained. Finding the right one is crucial to ensure it is a worthwhile and transformative experience that will give you the boost you need.
Can I use my evenings to study part-time?
Part-time courses are designed to fit flexibly around a busy lifestyle. Many combine face-to-face teaching in the evening (or in some cases at the weekend) with live-streamed webinars and readily accessible materials, such as pre-recorded lectures and online notes.
This lack of rigid structure means that no two students have exactly the same experience – each one is tailored according to need. In many cases, both contact time with tutors and private study can be completed during evenings.
What style of part-time course should I choose?
Upon completion, many part-time courses lead to a recognised university degree or are accredited by external bodies, delivering the same result over a longer period as full-time study.
Depending on whether they are intended to supplement an existing skill set or lay the foundations for a new one, some courses such as top-ups require an existing qualification or particular work experience. For students seeking career progression, fast-track or accelerated programmes can also be useful to fit around day-to-day work.
What can I study on a part-time course?
The variety of subjects for part-time courses does not just mirror that covered by full-time courses. Developmental courses designed to enhance career progression are available across a diverse range of subjects, and for students with differing backgrounds.
Our BSc (Hons) Construction Management course not only combines academic and practical learning, but works as a top-up for those with either an existing HNC qualification or several years’ supervisory or managerial experience. Students on the BA (Hons) Business Management and Innovation course are not required to have any particular qualification – only relevant work experience and the desire to further their career on an accelerated programme.
There is also particular demand in the UK for part-time courses that teach the sort of highly vocational skills that can bring about a complete career change. Among the most searched-for courses online are hairdressing, plumbing, carpentry and painting and decorating. Also popular are subjects that can be taken up either as a hobby or a profession – such as photography – and more specific, practical skills such as British Sign Language.
Part-time study continues to be a sought-after option for higher education in the UK – of 2.34 million people studying in 2017-18, half a million were enrolled on a part-time course.
What are the benefits of studying part-time?
Aside from the practical benefits – learning around existing commitments, studying at your own pace with minimal disruption – there are health benefits too.
A study by psychologists at the University of Oxford found that participants in part-time learning have increased self-confidence and a greater sense of control in their lives, as well as a willingness to embrace new challenges. Part-time study also broadens social networks and, in more creative subjects, can be therapeutic by providing a creative outlet.
Long before any certificate is attained, part-time study can begin to shift how you are perceived – not just by others but by yourself too. To prospective employers, it demonstrates determination, time management skills and an eagerness to develop. There is also a clear mental health benefit in using spare time productively to learn and work towards a positive and realistic goal.
Whatever you choose to study part-time, and whether it ignites a new passion or reignites a forgotten one, it will enhance much more than just your CV.
If you’d like to learn more about part-time study at the University Campus of St Albans, please just get in touch and we’ll be happy to help you.