Start something completely new
Jill Elder, Sector Manager for Business, Management and Computing, shares her advice if you are thinking about changing your career, returning to study - or if you are thinking about starting something completely new.
I work with a team of lecturers who deliver across a wide range of courses, including: Business; Administration; Accounting; Professional Management and MBA programmes; and also Computing. Our full time, part time and distance learning courses are designed to develop skills for employment in your chosen area. There are many reasons why people decide to change career direction, and we are here to help and support you with this. The key is to consider all the options before deciding on what is right for you. In the department, we have courses available at all levels - from SCQF level 5, through to SCQF 11. During a short interview, our experienced team will talk to you about what is the right route for you to reach your goal. This interview is as much for you to find out about the college, and your chosen course, as to help us help you decide on the right pathway.
Don’t be scared
We understand that it can be daunting returning to study after a period of time, so we work with you to ensure that you can settle in quickly and get to know your new classmates. You will attend an induction where you will take part in activities to break the ice – as well as being provided with all you need to know about your chosen course. You are allocated a member of the team, who is your Personal Academic Tutor. They will make sure that you understand how the course works – as well as being a source of guidance and support. You will get to know your PAT well over the duration of the course, and they will also support you to define your own goals and discuss what your next steps might be.
We encourage collaboration
In our full time programmes, we encourage students to form study groups and this may be outside your class time – for example, during your lunchtime. This works well and students tell us that they really benefit from helping each other on specific activities. We also encourage students to engage across levels and sometimes students from higher levels can be seen assisting and supporting those just starting out. Our classes are very diverse and our students often form very strong friendships with each other - this leads to development of a good support network which is important when you are studying.
Our courses offer flexibility to fit around your life
When people return the study, we know that often they may have a range of other commitments outside college - such as employment and caring commitments. Our full time course timetables are designed over 3 days to enable students to fit in other things around this. However, it is important that students understand that work is required outside of class times as well.
The college has a study centre, and IT suite, which students can access outside of class times too. Part time students discuss their goals with their PAT and agree on a timetable which is appropriate and manageable.
We will help you to progress your career
You may consider progressing to the next level of study, or wish to go into employment. Your PAT will help you look at the range of options available, and support you to come to the right decision. We have really strong links with local employers, and also charities, and you will be encouraged to seek out opportunities to gain experience throughout your course to develop skills and add value to your CV. In the department, we also run careers events which provides students with the opportunity to meet with employers to find out more information - and we have examples where this has led to employment. We also run Volunteering Fairs to encourage students to engage with organisations from charities and social enterprises.