Hundreds of people have signed up for a Cumbrian college’s online education programme since the start of the lockdown.
Lakes College has seen more than 600 adults sign up for its free distance learning courses over the past 12 weeks, and is encouraging people from around the county to see if they can benefit from the programme.
Sharon Rogers, director of apprenticeships and training at Lakes College at Lillyhall, near Workington, said: “We currently offer over 40 adult distance learning courses, covering everything from team leading to counselling and from data protection to dementia care.
“They are a good way to improve your job prospects and gain a nationally recognised qualification, which can help you progress at work. Many learners will also continue onto other training such as an apprenticeship.
“An online course is a good use of any spare time at home, and you will have access to a qualified assessor who will support you and provide feedback.”
“The courses have proved to be a good option for local employers too. Our advisers have been working with a number of firms who have been using the distance learning courses to develop the skills of their staff.
“We discuss their organisation’s training needs and then help their employees start on the most relevant qualification,” she added.
People who are still locked down or on furlough can learn new skills during this increased time at home, but even those in full-time employment can find a course that will improve their career prospects.
The courses are flexible so students can fit them around their regular commitments, with courses typically taking 10 to 15 hours to complete.
Lakes College’s distance learning courses are provided under the Government’s Adult Education Budget and are free to anyone over 19, subject to eligibility checks.
Laura Akehurst has completed team leading, GDPR and LEAN courses, among a host of care-related courses with the aim of boosting her prospects of promotion at work with Cumbria County Council.
She has since been offered a six-month secondment as a supervisor.
She said: “I enrolled on these courses to progress my career at work, and I found the courses great as they fit around my lifestyle and I could study when I wanted to around family, work and other commitments.
“There’s no need to attend college so you can do it at your own pace, you are given targets to meet and deadline dates for each unit.
“The tutors also keep you on track giving feedback on your units and also contact you to check on you if you haven’t submitted your work on time.”
The courses lead to Level 1 and Level 2 qualifications, and include team leading, lean organisation management techniques, customer service, business admin, data protection and data security, warehousing and storage, retail operations, digital skills, understanding autism, children and young people’s mental health, dementia care, safe handling of medication, end of life care and understanding nutrition.
There is no limit to the amount of courses you can take, and many students find themselves moving straight onto another after completion.
Mae Branthwaite has recently completed a course in GDPR. She said: “The course I have completed was called ‘Data Protection and Data Security’, and it was interesting and helpful, finding out new things. I am looking into doing another one pretty soon.
“Distance learning was straightforward and useful, because you could set yourself a target to reach over the eight weeks, along with learning along the way.
“It was a way to feel more independent, and I definitely would recommend it.”
Lakes College provides full and part time courses, higher education, professional qualifications and apprenticeships.
Full details of each Distance Learning course are available on the college’s website: http://www.lcwc.ac.uk
If you need any support registering for a course, or if you’d like to discuss your options, call 01946 839300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org