For many individuals there are numerous reasons why university wasnít considered or perhaps not deemed an option upon leaving school. These range from poor grades and lack of finance to career indecision and bypassing university, progressing directly into employment.
Several years down the line, many professionals who didnít gain qualifications from university find themselves in a position where they either need a degree to back up their experience and enhance their career prospects or are looking to change direction and require a formal qualification.
Yet few are in a position where they can return to university full-time to complete a degree due to financial and personal commitments, lifestyle and career stability. However, the option of gaining a formal qualification without putting your career on hold can easily be achieved through a flexible degree course, which allows individuals to continue to work full-time whilst studying part-time via distance learning.
Robert Gordon University (RGU) offer such a solution through its flexible Business Management BA (Hons) degree, which takes into account work experience when considering a personís eligibility for the course. The three year part-time course is delivered online via RGUís virtual campus to deliver materials including a range of podcasts, presentations and other interactive activities. In some instances those with sufficient work experience at a management level are granted the opportunity to bypass certain stages of the degree with advanced entry. In addition, there are qualifications at the end of each year of study within the degree, so students who are unable to commit to the whole period will be able to achieve formally recognised qualifications.
Kenny Young (32), of Kingfisher Drive, Inverurie, an Information Systems Manager at Diamond Offshore Drilling UK Ltd, enrolled in RGUís flexible Business Management degree in September 2010, with the aim of obtaining a formal qualification in management and enhancing his career prospects.
The busy dad to newborn twins, who hopes to graduate in 2014, reflects on his decision to undertake the course and demonstrates how it fits with his other priorities: "As a child, I really wasnít interested in school despite having relatively good grades. I enjoyed computing and set my sights on going to university to study a Computing degree. However I didnít gain the required grades, so decided to leave school with three Highers at the end of fifth year and go to college to complete an HND in Computing, as an access route into a university degree.
"After only one year of college and having obtained an HNC, I was offered a job within the Collegeís IT support team. I decided it was a great opportunity and took the post, forgoing my original plan of continuing to university. Over the last 12 years I moved up the ranks and gained several professional IT qualifications including Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer andCisco Certified Network Associat, but I really wanted to expand my knowledge out with IT.
"I needed a course that would mould round my expanding family life and demanding work schedule; it just wasnít practical for me to take a career break and go back to study full-time. After attending an open day at RGU, I decided on the part-time, distance learning Business Management degree to help enhance my career prospects, give me that all-important competitive advantage and arm me with the degree Iíd always hoped for but not yet achieved.
"The programme is delivered using a variety of online tools, such as e-books, podcasts and MP3 files. I often listen to lectures on my way into work and the variety of course delivery mediums allow studying to fit round my other commitments. Initially, I was concerned that support from lecturers would be limited, but virtual discussion forums and monthly Saturday workshops mean thereís regular interaction with both tutors and fellow students.
"The course is the challenge I needed at the right time in my life. I feel Iím far more mature and better equipped to engage with the content then I ever was as a school leaver; with the ability to really relate the content with past experience and also current situations in the economic climate.
"Iíve already developed so many transferrable skills that are implemented on a regular basis in my current role. Completing this degree not only helps me achieve my goal but without a doubt improves my business acumen and Iím sure will enhance my career prospects.Ē
More information on the course can be found at www.rgu.ac.uk/managementflexible