Despite its many benefits, further study can often be challenging among those with busy or complicated lifestyles. It can be difficult to commit to training programs with other work, school, or family commitments on your plate – on top of the varying study experiences different kinds of courses can provide.
Fortunately, we’ve broken down the most critical factors to selecting the right training course below, helping you make a choice that benefits both your current lifestyle and career goals.
Why is it important to choose the right course?
Choosing the right course, whether online
or on-campus, ensures you receive the skills training best suited to your career goals and schedule. Not only will you arm yourself with the appropriate qualifications to pursue the career you’re after – you’ll also have the chance to study at an ideal timetable tailored to other personal or work-related commitments.
This allows you to dedicate an appropriate amount of time, energy, and effort into course content provided; while gaining the practical knowledge and experience you need to stand out in the job market.
What factors should I consider when choosing a course?
- Your reasons for wanting to study.
- Skills and industry areas.
- Your current work schedule.
- Prior qualifications or work experience.
- Student support and online options.
1. Your reasons for wanting to study.
Before jumping into a course, it helps to consider your reasons for pursuing further study. Are you a high school
graduate entering the job market for the first time? A full-time employee seeking a career change or promotion? Perhaps you’re simply looking to explore new skills and interests?
Whatever your motivations may be, identifying them can help in pinning down the ideal course for your circumstances. If you’re a high school leaver, for instance, pursuing courses that offer work placement opportunities may be beneficial.
Those looking to switch industries or climb up the career ladder can seek out accredited course training in emerging, sought-after industry areas. If you’re merely searching for new passions, a short course or two can help broaden your skill set without the heavy time and financial commitment.
Choosing the right course often starts with mapping out your specific skills goals, and shortlisting the programs best suited to these objectives.
2. Skills and industry areas.
Secondly, think about the specific career paths or industry sectors you hope to explore. Consider yourself a creative, hoping to make it in the world of graphic design? Enjoy working with numbers and consider yourself financially-savvy? Perhaps you’ve had a long-time interest in coding and software development?
Though it goes without saying, determining your areas of interest is crucial to choosing the right courses worth your time. Some courses (such as those under Upskilled) even list the potential career paths or roles specific programs can lead to, helping you in your selection.
Depending on the job you want and your current experience level, you may need to start with smaller, lower-level qualifications and work your way up to higher diploma or degree programs.
Additionally, be sure to take your desired working lifestyle into account. Certain industries – such as retail and hospitality – rely on strict, on-premise working arrangements, while others (such as IT) are much more flexible, offering plenty of options to work from home.
3. Your current work schedule.
As mentioned, the right course should fit comfortably among your other work and personal commitments. Consider your current schedule: are you a full-time employee, parent, or caregiver? If so, it may be worth seeking out course programs that offer greater flexibility – such as those delivered online.
Upskilled’s courses, for instance, offers the opportunity to build one’s skills anywhere, at any time; with nationally-recognised qualifications individuals can undertake through an online system. This grants them the ease of studying whenever is best convenient – ideal for busy professionals or those with heavy familial responsibilities.
With the option to train at your own pace, you can also flexibly set your own study hours per week, further tailoring the course experience to fit your schedule.
4. Prior qualifications or work experience.
If you’ve already got formal training or industry experience under your belt, you may be eligible for recognition of prior learning (RPL). This refers to such skills being transferred over to your chosen course as recognised “credit”, effectively fast-tracking your study.
Under Upskilled, course applicants can request to have their expertise assessed for eligible RPL credit. They are required to produce original certificates or certified copies of previous qualifications where necessary.
Furthermore, prior education or experience can help bolster your skills and industry value when paired with further study. For example, if you currently hold a degree in computer science, undertaking a specialty course in sought-after sectors (i.e. cyber security, cloud computing, data science, etc.) can further boost your employability in the job market.
Your solid, foundational knowledge of the industry will additionally aid you in pursuing more focused, specialised training courses.
Many professionals often choose to complement their existing degree with an online course, with the latter being a highly accessible and flexible option as they seek out entry-level job opportunities.
5. Student support and online options.
Finally, be sure to consider the support services and flexibility your course can provide.
As mentioned, online programs are a popular choice among those on a tight schedule, granting them the freedom of building skills at a time and place of their preference. If you live in a remote or rural area, online courses are also often a more accessible pathway to qualifications without having to relocate or commute long distances.
The student support you receive throughout your course is also critical. Ensure your training provider has a reliable network of educational assistants ready to guide you throughout your study journey.
This is especially vital among online study platforms, where students primarily connect with trainers through phone calls or online messaging. Be sure your course equips you with the right tools and services to maintain clear, easy, and constant communication.
How do I enrol in a course?
Now that we’ve explained the nature of online courses and what to look for, how do you get started in one?
The enrolment process will differ depending on your training provider, though you firstly have to ensure you fit the program’s entry requirements. This may include the completion of a related (possibly lower-level) qualification, having basic language and learning skills, and access to a personal computer and internet connection.
With Upskilled, those interested in a course are simply required to complete an online application form to get in touch with an education consultant. You will then be contacted within 48 hours, and be given the opportunity to discuss the course and any questions you may have.
Once you’ve confirmed your chosen course, you’ll then be asked to complete an enrolment form and submit any necessary RPL requests. Finally, a quick Language, Literacy, and Numeracy (LLN) test will be conducted just before you commence the program, ensuring you have the fundamental skills required to successfully complete your qualification.
With a generous selection of nationally-recognised courses – from in-demand sectors in IT to growing areas of community services – Upskilled can offer you that kickstart in skills you need for your dream career. Best of all, with their online delivery, you can study at a time, place, and pace that suits you best.
Ana Isabel Alonsagay
Ana Isabel Alonsagay freelance writer and founder of anaisabel.org, a blog on lifestyle, culture, and entertainment. When she isn't pinned to her keyboard, you can find her at your local cinema, blasting Broadway soundtracks or attending cosplay conventions.