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Last edited 26 Nov 2021
Flexible courses for lifelong learning
On 25 August 2021, the Government announced a programme to support people looking to study or train throughout their lives. Supported by bespoke loans, learners will be able to upskill or retrain through short university or college courses at a pace that is suited to them.
 Targeted courses
Universities and further education colleges are being invited to bid for a share of £2 million to create new short courses across five subject areas: net zero, digital innovation, STEM, healthcare and education.
Providers will be tasked with developing relevant courses which could be as short as six weeks – or as long as a year if studied part-time – and which will deliver learners with a certificate they can use to build towards future training and employment.
The plans aim to put an end to the perception that traditional three- and four-year degree courses are the only route for those who want to pursue further education or training. Students will be able to space out their studies and learn at a pace that is right for them, including opting to build up their qualifications over time, within both colleges and universities. The first short courses will be available from September 2022.
Delivered by the Office for Students, the Higher Education Short Course Challenge Competition will fund up to 20 successful bids from HE providers to trial short courses aimed at boosting skills and getting more people into work. The trial is one component of the Government’s Lifelong Learning Entitlement (part of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee) which will provide students with access to financial support for different courses throughout their lifetime The flexible student loan arrangements will give learners access to loans that could help support them for the duration of their short course.
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