Impact of Covid-19

5. Adapting your career plan to take advantage of current opportunities

5.5. Impact to further study

If you have carefully considered further study, this can offer you an excellent opportunity to gain a richer, deeper learning experience and add value to you personally and professionally. If your chosen course is in another country, you should use the university’s website for updates and contact them directly for support with queries about your personal circumstances. Free movement globally may be impacted for some time, so it’s important to consider your preferred back-up options.

Potential ongoing adaptations in the UK include:

  • Blended or 'hybrid' learning (recorded lectures with in-person seminars or vice versa)
  • Divided degree cohorts to allow social distancing

Many graduates use further study as a back-up option. If this is your only driver, take a step back to take stock, and ensure it’s not a knee-jerk reaction.

Some enter further study with the mistaken belief that it is a guarantee of a higher future salary. This can be true, however, it is not a guarantee, and is more likely if you are choosing to specialise. Again, if this is your only driver, make sure you have considered your other options as further study is a large investment of time and money

With the potential alterations in mind, take some time to think about your preferences. If your course/university of choice adapts and what they offer changes, i.e. it’s delivered fully in a virtual learning environment or is blended-learning when you anticipated in-person teaching, are you still happy and comfortable to complete the course? Ask yourself some important questions:

  • What is your learning style?
  • Does the method of teaching suit your style? What adjustments could be made?
  • Do you have access to relevant resources and equipment at home? E.g. personal computer, internet, workstation including desk and chair
  • Have you identified any potential barriers? E.g. a mental health condition or distractions in your home like family or housemates

Some specialist courses may no longer fit into your career planning, e.g. if you decided to retrain to take up interim opportunities. Factor this into your planning, as a different course may now be more relevant. Remember to think about availability, location, and cost. 

You may now wish to consider existing distance learning options from providers such as the Open University. Distance learning offers you the flexibility and freedom to learn at your own pace often while continuing to work/earn or care for your family, for example. You will benefit from the skills developed as a result of the self-driven approach needed for this type of study, but this can also be one of the key challenges. Open University courses also tend to offer a longer study period to enable you to fit study around your existing lifestyle.

Open University