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What are my Higher Education Options?

16 October 2012

If you have recently finished school or started work as a school leaver, you may get to a point when you will want to gain career advancement though further education. However, your circumstances may have changed and you may have other day to day responsibilities like a full time job or a family to provide for.

What are you options?


Apprenticeships are ideal for those who do not enjoy classroom based education. They are great for the type of student who learns by doing and will gain knowledge out in the industry. Many apprenticeships are partnered with colleges so you may have one classroom day a week but the majority of your time will be on site. Apprenticeships are available in fields such as hairdressing, car mechanics, construction, plumbing, electrical and child care. As you are learning and working on the job you still get paid a salary, usually around minimum wage with the potential to stay on as a permanent employee earning a decent salary once you have gained your qualifications.


Colleges offer a wide range of higher education courses: BTECs, A levels, GCSEs and Foundations courses in anything from Biological Sciences to Travel & Tourism Management. They really do cover a large area of subjects in a varied level: catering, photography, computer sciences, art, languages, jewellery, hairdressing, drama, childcare, sports and even car mechanics. With qualifications in a range of skills you could learn about whatever you want to do in a career.

Open University.

Open Universities are generally universities who offer courses for mature students. Their courses sometimes run in mature student friendly hours, either midweek evenings or weekends to allow their pupils to carry on a full time career whilst studying in the spare hours of the week. You can gain qualifications in a range of subject that can help lead to job prospects or just widen your knowledge.

Online Distance Learning Courses.

Online distance learning courses are the most flexible of higher education options. You can learn at home at your own pace so it is really easy to work in a full time job whilst studying. Online distance learning courses allow you to fit your studying around your lifestyle and not the other way round. With a large choice of online distance learning courses available on the internet they are all competing for the best prices so you may find it is a more affordable option.

The main thing to consider when looking at further education is what option will fit almost seamlessly into your current lifestyle. Are you looking to start a fresh new job and earn whilst studying? An apprenticeship is for you. College could be your answer if you looking to further your existing GCSE qualifications by taking a foundation course or A levels. An Open University will be for you if you are a mature student wishing to learn with like minding people in a university environment. If you are unable to attend an establishment regularly and have an already busy schedule then you should seriously consider distance learning courses. Online courses are great for those who need flexibility.