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Aiming high for your career?

 Aiming high for your career

University might not be the best option for you

Going to university is often still considered ‘the norm’ by A-Level students.  For many years, university has been touted as giving young people the ‘best chance’ of getting on the career ladder, but since the recent tuition fee hike, the tide is turning.

It’s important to know and understand that there are other options, and you should never feel pressurised to go to university, especially if you don’t know what you want to pursue in the long-term.

If you are set on university: think about why you are going

Despite half of potential students being worried about tuition fee debt, with the average graduate debt at £50,000, many school-leavers are still headed to university. Some students cite pressure from schools and parents as the reason for continuing their education at university, while others are simply unaware or uninformed about the other options available.

Perhaps you haven’t been exposed to the other paths you can go down that will help you decide whether higher education is right for you. It really depends on how you learn best, what career path you aspire to, and if it’s something that you ultimately want to do.

Undertaking Higher National Diploma’s (HNDs) and Degrees via distance learning is the alternative option that many young people are turning to today; offering them excellent career prospects and enabling them to gain the same qualifications as going to University at a fraction of the cost.

The Brighton School of Business and Management (BSBM) has built a reputation for delivering high quality distance learning Business and Management courses and are a strategic partner of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

In this blog we will discuss:

  • Why distance learning may be a better option for you than going to university
  • The advantages of distance learning with BSBM
  • What employers are looking for in their new recruits
  • How distance learning with BSBM better prepares you for the job market and what employers are looking for in terms of both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills

Distance learning may be the best option for you

According to the Telegraph, almost half of graduates end up doing jobs they could have done at 18. And they do so, on average, with £20,000 of debt (earlier this year the Institute for Fiscal Studies reported that most students would still be paying back their loans in their forties and fifties, with many never earning enough to clear the debt at all).

The question that students really need to be asking themselves is not where they want to go to university, but whether they want to go at all.  If you choose not to go to university, you can start your ascent of the career ladder much earlier than your peers. This is an opportunity to gain on-the-job experience and make valuable contacts.

Distance learning is gaining prominence among students eager to upgrade themselves for better career prospects. Distance HND and Degree courses serve as a great alternative for students looking for further education without undergoing more conventional classroom learning.  By taking an online course you will increase your knowledge, which makes you more employable. And if you later decide that a Degree will advance your career, then you could study online and earn while you learn.

Online courses offer much more freedom and flexibility. Many students enroling for distance education courses are working full-time and are not in a situation to quit their jobs. They need a source of income to run their family’s expenses. Hence, in order to upgrade their educational qualifications along with a job, they prefer taking up distance learning courses.

At Brighton School of Business and Management (BSBM) we blend education and business on a daily basis. So, if you want to study for a Degree but the high fees put you off, you could consider distance learning with us. Our online learning courses are comparatively low cost and a more affordable option to the traditional university route. With employers placing huge importance on work experience, the ability to gain this experience and study at the same time can have a positive effect on career prospects.

The Benefits of a distance learning qualification with BSBM

  • No debt – is a perfect solution for those who would struggle to afford university
  • Hands on experience – when people finish university they may be ‘book smart’, but if you take a professional distance learning qualification you will have more practical experience in the field and this can work to your advantage when applying for a job.
  • Networking – when you work in the field of your choice you build up contacts. This can benefit you in the future.
  • Get to grips with working life – it can be hard working a full time job so by getting used to it early on, stops you from being thrown into the deep end after university.
  • Application – if you are working in your chosen career field whilst taking a professional qualification it allows you to more fully understand the qualification, and also you can instantly apply what you are learning to your job. It also helps with exams/assignments as you can relate it to the job you have rather than having to research a company.
  • Less stress – when studying professional qualifications you can study at your own pace, and in a space that it comfortable to you.
  • Same level of education – working your way through the qualifications to the highest level is equivalent to a university Degree. An employer will still be as impressed with your CV in comparison to someone with a Degree from a University and, you will have work experience as an advantage too.

If you’re going into university half-heartedly, we suggest rethinking whether it’s what you want to do, and think about studying with BSBM via distance learning. What you really need for success is surprisingly simple: identify what you love — which is almost always what you’re good at; then find an accessible and reasonable way to be the best at it, or at least the best at a part of it.

Studying for your future career? Why distance learning with BSBM is a great option

A big mistake many young people make is believing that education is inherently tied to classrooms, rigid chairs, and standardised exams. Online learning is becoming much more popular amongst students as digital education platforms improve.

Google truly couldn’t care less about what university you attended; it only wants to know if you can a) solve problems, b) lead, and c) offer the company something different. IBM says that about 10-15% of its new hires don’t have a university Degree. And in Google’s view, the experience of going to university can sometimes even detract from a candidate’s qualifications.

A recent report, published by CBI and Pearson, found that three quarters of businesses were looking to increase the number of high-skilled jobs they recruit for, but that 61% feared that they wouldn’t be able to fill those roles. A third of companies are unhappy with graduates’ attitude to work, blaming their lack of resilience and self-management skills.  Graduates were also believed to lack cultural awareness, according to one in three employers, while 40% said that new graduates lacked customer awareness.

Crescens George, Chief Operating Officer of Be Wiser Insurance group, told The Telegraph that graduates are not prepared for “the real world of work”, and often require “ego-massaging”.

“You would expect that university education would teach some basic business etiquette, and certainly communication skills”

The skills gap between what employers want and what new graduates are capable of is more prevalent today than ever before. A recent national survey conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder found that although 95% of UK firms will hire a graduate this year, only 23% believe that this graduate will arrive fully developed and ready to go, or to coin a phrase of one employer – ‘oven ready’.

Traditionally, universities have concentrated on solely teaching their students, rather than instilling in them the necessary life skills some seem to lack when finishing their Degree. 53% of employers stated that they believe too much emphasis is placed on book learning rather than real world experience, which stunted graduates as they entered the workforce.

A report by the Institute of Student Employers (ISE) undertook a ‘development survey’ this year of their members. 175 organisations responded, representing the views of a range of different sectors. Between them, these recruiters hire 19,630 graduates per year.

Skills they look for and which they found the majority of applicants had were:

  • Teamwork 87%
  • Interpersonal skills 82%
  • Problem solving 73%

 The following skills which they also value scored less well however: 

  • Self-awareness 39%
  • Business appropriate communication 34%
  • Resilience 31%
  • Commercial awareness 23%
  • Negotiating/influencing 17%
  • Dealing with conflict 12%
  • Managing up 5%

In today’s business environment employees are required to be critical thinkers, problem solvers, have the ability to pay attention to detail, and be able to write proficiently. Graduates and Millennials need strong communication and problem-solving skills if they want to succeed in the workplace. Effective writing with proper grammar and structure, speaking, and critical thinking enables the young person to accomplish business goals and get ahead.

Embarking on a HNC or a HND with BSBM will open doors for students in the workplace, and also start their journey to becoming a Chartered Manager with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) if they wish.

BSBM’s range of Business and Management HND courses have been developed with employability in mind. They are generally more wide-ranging and relevant to today’s job market and give students a solid grounding in many aspects of running a modern business.  We understand the key aspects that employers think are important. Developing your knowledge and skill in these areas therefore gives you a solid background in business management. You will also gain a qualification that is recognised by businesses from around the world which is increasingly becoming the standard that many businesses are looking for when they think about hiring new staff.

The breadth of coverage that a business management HND or HNC provides means that students can also discover their niche, find areas in which they want to specialise, and also go onto more advanced education such as completing their Degree or opting to take on a postgraduate course. They even have the core knowledge that can help them start their own businesses and become the entrepreneurs of the future.

The strength of a HND is its broad coverage, how it can be applied to the real world and its relevance to businesses and organisations across the board. That not only means it benefits the student undertaking the course but also the employer who will be hoping to take them on in the future.  The career opportunities for HND students are large and varied, with high rates of students in employment within 6 months of completion of their studies

So, if you want to get your dream job, then you need to be thinking about what potential employers are looking for when they are recruiting. 

Studying for an HND through distance learning from BSBM provides you with the best business education and future career prospects.

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