Some of us are lucky enough to have a career where options keep opening up, but that’s not always the case; sometimes you want to change direction completely later in life. You may be put off by the need to update your skillset and even complete new qualifications. However, it’s easier than ever to study a course in a way that suits you, thanks to the internet and the services of distance learning providers around the country.
Although many people who undergo this kind of education are completing university degrees, there are companies who offer qualifications of all levels – for example, Oxford Open Learning’s A Level distance learning courses give a chance for anybody who missed out on attending college to catch up. Completing A Levels can open the door to new job opportunities, apprenticeship schemes and nursing qualifications or even higher education, depending on the direction you want to go in.
Like all forms of study, distance learning has its advantages and drawbacks. One of the most attractive features, particularly for people who are completing a qualification later in life, is the ability to complete a course in your own time – even while you’re working. As long as you have enough free time to devote to your studies, it’s possible to get your A Levels or a university degree while holding down a full-time job. There’s also no need to relocate to a new town, minimising the disruption to your life if you have a family.
The advent of the internet has also brought in a number of positive changes regarding distance learning. While students used to correspond with tutors almost entirely by mail and phone conversations, you can now access all the resources for your course online and arrange videoconferences with tutors and fellow students to ensure you’re up to date with everything. You may even have the option to attend virtual lectures without leaving your home.
There are also downsides to distance learning. A lot more rests on your own willpower and self-discipline. It’s up to you to find the time and dedication to complete your course, and, if you’re not getting the work done there’ll be no-one to blame but yourself. You will also miss out on the social aspect of attending school or college – although this may not be a problem for people who are studying in later life and already have their own circle of friends.
Never too late!
However you choose to do it, it’s never too late to start getting qualifications and equip yourself with the skills and knowledge you need to get further in your career – or even start a business and work for yourself. Too many people hold back from achieving their dreams because they don’t feel confident enough to return to education, but nowadays it’s easier than ever – and it can lead to great things.
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