As the impacts of the pandemic are felt by school leavers for the second year in a row, a new generation of learners are more ready than ever before to embrace alternatives to traditional higher education and take advantage of more flexible learning.
This year’s A level school leavers have certainly had an unusual journey throughout their education so far. With the pandemic having seen the introduction of distanced learning, and grades being awarded based on teacher recommendation, the shift away from the norm will certainly have pushed some outside of their comfort zone. However, that isn’t to say that there aren’t also positives that have resulted from this educational shake up. Here we explore how their learning journey to date empowers a whole new generation of school leavers to embrace a wider range of studying and training options than they perhaps would have pre-covid.
Style of learning
With Education Technology earmarking digital literacy as ‘integral to success in today’s connected world’, the experience of having to learn to study remotely, self-motivate alongside online lessons, and interact with a wider variety of learning materials will certainly have done no harm to this year’s leavers.
Having built experience of being proactive in overcoming obstacles along the way, online learning is no longer a mystical and unrelatable prospect. Learners will have already developed a successful system for managing their time, home/study balance, and also how to access the support they need from afar – all of which will stand them in good stead as they progress to a higher level of education; regardless of whether this is in-person or not.
Through building a positive mindset towards more independent learning, this resilient generation of students have therefore opened the door and their minds to a far greater range of learning opportunities.
With the ongoing economic impacts of the pandemic set to stay for at least the foreseeable future, savvy students will also be considering their options when it comes to financing their qualifications.
The traditional route to qualification as a Solicitor, for example, has typically seen costs rise as high as £69,000 once living expenses and the Legal Practice Course (LPC) are taken into account. Comparatively, the SQE pathway opens up the possibility to qualify for as little as £15,500.
As it becomes more accepted that alternative pathways do not equate to a lesser standard in any way, the value for money that such qualification routes offer can be truly appreciated and utilized to learners’ advantage.
As the world opens up post-pandemic, combined with the above financial considerations, the new-style school leaver will likely be motivated to find ways to enter into the working world with as little delay as possible.
Compared to the traditional law degree, alternative routes more often than not incorporate an element of practical experience – usually in the form of a requirement of a certain amount of work experience, such as QWE in the case of the SQE. More flexible routes that allow individuals to study alongside garnering the required experience enable students to earn whilst they learn, as well as actively get ahead of the game when it comes to their career and employability, by getting a foot in the door at an earlier point in their qualification journey than many of their peers.
With the right mindset and willingness to embrace what alternative, flexible, and online learning has to offer, what may have initially been perceived as a daunting time to be studying has actually presented a whole new range of opportunities for this year’s leavers to consider.