Getting back to work

Work-related higher education level courses

There are higher education level courses, available through colleges and universities, that focus on developing your work-related skills and understanding.

The higher education level courses and qualifications outlined below focus on giving you either the work-related skills, knowledge and understanding you need for a particular career or area of work, or develop skills that can be applied to most jobs. Take a look at the websites of colleges and universities in the South of England to get an idea of what is available locally.

Professional development courses

In today’s rapidly changing world of work it’s essential to keep your skills and knowledge up to date. In fact, to keep up your registration with a professional body, you may need to submit a record of your continuing professional development (or CPD as it’s widely known). 

There are courses (offered through colleges, universities and professional bodies) specifically designed to develop your skills and knowledge or professional practice related to your career area. Courses are usually undertaken alongside work but can be a good way to keep up your CPD if you are having a career break and want to get back into employment. 

Courses vary in terms of length, the commitment involved and level. Some can be taken as one-off study opportunities or can be used towards a qualification. Courses are delivered in different settings and can be taken through different delivery formats, from one-day seminars to week-long courses and distance learning modules. Here is some more information about Professional Development Qualifications.

Search college and university websites for ‘CPD’ or ‘professional courses’.  Here are some examples: 

Work-related higher education qualifications

Many higher education qualifications, including some Honours Degrees, are work-related so are designed to prepare you for entry to a particular area of work. 

Foundation Degrees are designed and delivered in partnership with employers and institutions of higher education. They combine study with workplace learning, so if you are aiming to get back into employment, the experience you gain will be valuable. Foundation Degrees are offered in a wide range of work areas including, for instance:

  • agriculture
  • business
  • construction
  • health
  • hospitality
  • retail

Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) and Higher National Certificates (HNCs) are also job-related qualifications that can help prepare you for a return to the workplace. HND/Cs are available in a wide range of career areas such as:

  • accounting
  • computing
  • creative media
  • engineering
  • sport
  • tourism

You can search for Foundation Degrees and HND/C courses through the UCAS website and also find out more through individual college and university websites.

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