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Completing new qualifications after having a break from education can be a great way for people to increase their knowledge and skills, boost their confidence and enhance their career prospects. But starting a course can also pose challenges for adult learners. Here are three hurdles that these people commonly face.
1. A shortage of basic skills
Leaving school early or taking big breaks from education can leave people with a lack of basic skills, and in some cases this is enough to put potential learners off starting new training programmes. It can mean people struggle to meet the entry requirements for courses or they simply aren’t equipped to cope with the content of the courses they are interested in. However, as off-putting as this problem may seem, there is a way round it. Foundation courses in subjects such as maths, English or IT can serve as a bridge to more advanced study. For example, the distance learning website http://www.ool.co.uk/ offers introductory courses that are aimed at people returning to education after a break. These programmes offer individuals a way to refresh their skills and prepare for higher level courses.
2. Other responsibilities
Other responsibilities can also serve as a barrier to adult learning. Often, people have too many demands on their time to return to the classroom. From bringing up kids to holding down a job, this is a major difficulty for lots of otherwise eager students. Again though, there is a solution to this seemingly insurmountable problem. Rather than signing up to traditional college courses that require them to attend classes in person, people can opt to take advantage of the more flexible remote learning opportunities now available. It’s much easier for students to fit these courses around the other demands on their time. For example, they can sneak in their study time in the evenings after work or when they’ve put the kids to bed.
3. A lack of confidence
Another potential hurdle is the lack of confidence that a gap from learning can cause. People often doubt their abilities if they have taken a break from their studies, and this can have a stifling effect on their careers and ambition. It’s true that trying something new can be a challenge, but as long as learners find the right courses and make sure they choose training providers that will offer them plenty of support and guidance, there is no reason for anyone to let nerves hold them back. Often, learners grow in confidence as their studies progress and they surprise themselves by how quickly they can pick up knowledge and skills.
Deciding to return to education after a long break can feel like a leap of faith, but providing they select the right courses, people have plenty to gain by restarting their studies.