Studying at home – transferable skills

When you’re studying for an undergraduate or career qualification you will become an expert in your chosen subject. Whatever course you choose to study, you’ll also find that you develop a wealth of transferable skills – this is even true of online courses where you study in your own time at home.

These oft-forgotten ‘bonus’ skills make you a better student while you’re still studying, and equip you for work in almost any industry or profession. You don’t have to actually attend a University or College to develop these additional skills and qualities, and they’ll be with you for life too.

1. Time management

Perhaps the most obvious skill you’ll develop as a part-time student. After you’ve been juggling work, family, deadlines and research for a few years, a few home-learning projects and targets are a piece of cake.

2. Organisation

Closely linked to time management, organisation skills are essential for all part-time students. If you can prove that you can handle the pressure of working on several tasks at the same time, you’ll get ahead in any career. Make sure your CV lists both Organisation and Time Management as key skills too – don’t be modest, make sure you’re claiming credit for your new abilities!

3. Research

A highly-valued skill across many professions; if you know how to find sources of accurate and reliable information to use in projects and reports, you’ll quickly become a valuable team member.

4. Presenting ideas

In almost every job, there comes a time when a presentation or report is required. If you’re already a pro at disseminating ideas into an easily-digestible format (like a written assignment or report) then you’re already there.

5. Reasoning

This is one skill that you’ll naturally develop whatever subject you’re studying, whether you’re evaluating a resource or researching a topic. The ability to weigh up the pros and cons of a project, client or product are invaluable in any workplace.

6. Decision-making

You might not realise it, but every assignment is the product of hundreds of small decisions, e.g. your choice of words, argument, resources etc. After you’ve ‘practised’ with your latest essay, it’s easy to apply this skill to larger workplace decisions.

7. Persuasion

You don’t have to pursue a career in sales or business to need persuasion skills; they’re important in many day-to-day workplace meetings. As a student you’ll naturally develop them as you build your case in essays and discussions.

8. Overcoming obstacles

There’s probably not a single student out there that hasn’t encountered an obstacle along the way, be it a bad grade, a dull topic or confusion around a subject. It might seem hard at the time but the skills you develop as you overcome each obstacle are invaluable.

9. Commitment

One of the most obvious skills a part-time student gains; choosing to give up some of your free time to gain a valuable qualification shows any future or current employer that you’re passionate and committed to your own development.

10. Self-motivation

The ability to keep your passion and motivation going after several years of part-time study is a really difficult skill, and not one that should be underestimated. A potential employer looking at your CV is sure to value this.

11. Confidence

Part-time study is often a personal journey, with students growing in confidence the more they conquer difficult topics and learn to express themselves in discussions and reports. It might not be a quantifiable skill, but it’ll shine through in interviews.

12. Problem solving

This skill features on many CVs, but it’s a difficult one to prove. Part-time students can often cite a number of problems they had to overcome while they studied e.g. a difficult topic, a hard-to-meet deadline or a confusing module.

13. Listening

An underappreciated skill, students will develop this naturally as they listen to their one-on-one time with tutors and support. This is a great skill for managing others, or just for working as part of a team.

Next time you’re updating your CV, make sure you’ve included all of the above as your key skills – after all, your successful studying is living proof that you’ve earned the right to claim those skills, so why not make use of them!

 

Alternatives to University

Congratulations! You’ve finished your A levels/BTEC and now you can be relieved knowing that you have no more work to do… except you do because you now have the problem of figuring out what to do next. You may have thought about uni and although it is appealing to many, there are those who don’t wish to take the risk of debt that they may not be able to pay off or who just are tired of education and want to just get on with their lives and so forth. So to those who think that university is not for them then this is the place to be as we will be giving you plenty of other options to take now that you’re college days are over.

Gap Year

The first one we will discuss is taking a gap year as it is more advantageous to do this sooner rather than later. Taking a gap year can give you time to sort things out and figure out what it is you want to do in life and you can learn some valuable new skills and experience new things. Gap years can be taken by anyone and for varying amounts of time depending on how long it takes you to figure out what you want to do. Many individuals travel and get jobs in foreign countries to experience new things and ways of life and to explore while they can. Trips like these will require planning and goals will need to be set to ensure that you don’t just waste your time in these places on mundane things. Taking a gap year can help individuals to develop skills that employers might want in certain fields and they can also increase somebody’s self confidence, independance and can give experience of working abroad.

Entry-level Job

Entry-level jobs dont require potential employees to have gained professional qualifications and are therefore popular among school and college leavers who don’t want to educate themselves further and just want to start making money. Some entry-level jobs don’t even require people to have work experience in the given field as they can learn while doing the job. Some entry-level jobs can be full-time and permanent whereas some may only be temporary contracts or part-time which can be a disadvantage to some.

There are three main types of entry-level jobs which are traineeships, apprenticeships and employer-designed school leaver programmes. Traineeships usually consisit of a short course which can last up to six months and then work experience that prepares an individual for apprenticeship or work and is usually unpaid. Apprenticeships are a combination of paid work and study that goes towards gaining a formal qualification. Employer-designed school leaver programmes consist of paid work with training which eventually leads to a professional qualificaiton.

After several promotions individuals can possibly earn more money in any of these entry-level jobs.

Sponsored Degree

A sponsored degree can be a good alternative to people who worry about the expenses of going to university. This is because they usually involve a company that supports you while you study for approximately three years depending on the course with full salaries or annual bursaries. These companies may also cover an individual’s tuition fees meaning that the student leaves universtity without any debt. Because of the pay these degrees have been likened to apprenticeships and because of this have been referred to as degree apprenticeships.

An advantage of these degrees is that as well as the funding and support from the employees but usually the student will have a guaranteed job upon graduation. Through a sponsored degree an individual may also get the opportunity to learn from those who already work at the company. A sponsored degree is seen as a contract between you and the employer and because of this they will expect something in return, meaning that a student may end up working when on breaks from universtity or when time off is available. If this degree  peaks your interest then you should get researching companies that are local to you and see if any of them offer a degree such as this.

Self-employment

If you already specialise in something or have a good idea for a business and know how to put a plan in place then you could become self-employed and work for yourself. This means you will have flexible hours and work independantly meaning no chance of being made redundant and the potential for a higher slaray because most of the money will be going straight back into the business and then yourself after wages if you have anyone employed.

It will be a struggle and no matter what there will always be the chance for it to fail and then you could end up losing out on a lot of money and waste a lot of time. This can be very stressful and you won’t receive any sick or holiday pay as you don’t have an employer that is required to approve these. Also, irregular income can make paying taxes and bills awkward and you could end up working more hours than typical people just to make ends meet.

Sources

https://www.savethestudent.org/student-jobs/what-are-the-alternatives-to-university.html

https://www.prospects.ac.uk/applying-for-university/alternatives-to-university