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The rise in online courses helps people and businesses get back on their feet

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact on jobs and businesses, Eastleigh College reports an increase in demand for online courses, and believes this form of learning will be pivotal as individuals and employers rebuild jobs and businesses.

The College runs a range of digital, part time professional courses supporting adults to upskill or retrain to maximise their potential, perhaps with a view to entering a new career path.

Enrolment onto online courses increased significantly over the lockdown period, with demand for digital professional and technical courses up a third between March and August 2020 compared to the previous year.

Eastleigh College’s Vice Principal - Commercial and Customer Service, Darren Coventry said: “This rise in professional online learning is no surprise given that the coronavirus lockdown led to job losses for some, as well as uncertainty or career contemplation for many others. 

“Digital courses were a popular choice for those wanting to utilise their time wisely while being furloughed or working reduced hours. One learner explained they were studying in the time they saved simply by not having to commute.

“For others completing an online course is an essential stepping stone towards starting a completely new career path, and we’ve also supported businesses by providing online training for their employees.”

Interestingly, enrolment data showed a significant increase in learners opting for a five-week course introducing learners to running their own business, and addresses the pros and cons, statutory requirements, legal requirements and the creation of an action plan.        

Free courses

Demand for Eastleigh College’s range of free online courses has soared, with a record number of applications still being received.

Darren continued: “These Level 2 courses are available free of charge to the vast majority of adults. They were extremely popular during lockdown as people sought to gain additional knowledge and qualifications. However, applications are continuing to rise as people continue to take advantage of them.” 

The most popular free courses during lockdown were mental health awareness courses and exercise, health and nutrition awareness courses, while others included Customer Service and Organisational Management.

Digital learning is just one of the areas the college committed to in the ‘Bounce Back Pledge’ it launched earlier this year in a bid to help individuals and employers get back on their feet post-Covid.

In addition, learners who might not have the formal qualifications needed to study at university have the option of six tailored access courses providing a stepping stone to study at degree level to enter a new career in an array of industry areas including teaching, nursing, dietetics, medicine, social work and more.

Eastleigh College also provides full and part time Level 4 and Level 5 foundation courses and apprenticeships in a broad range of sectors, ensuring there is something for everyone. Industry areas include accountancy, counselling, creative media and video games development, computing, construction and built environment, education, engineering, healthcare and human resources.

Chief Executive and Principal, Paul Cox, said: “Our Bounce Back Pledge has gained support from many employers and organisations and we’re working together to support individuals as they prepare themselves for life after the virus.

“We are continuing to develop a wide range of online programmes to provide the skills and knowledge for a highly rewarding future.

“Adapting and adjusting has been a huge part of the culture of our college over the last few months. The way teaching is delivered has evolved. We have reacted to the high demand for online professional courses for those in employment or currently unemployed and looking to boost their skill set, increase their productivity or gain an industry recognised qualification to help secure their dream job.”