Last year the Open University - supported by the Social Partnerships Network (SPN) - launched six free badged online courses for people looking to develop their career or considering a change of direction.
These have proved highly popular, and hundreds of people have taken the opportunity to sign up to the courses.
One such person is Sultana Rajia, a UNISON member who works with Sure Start West at Newcastle City Council. Sultana found out about the courses on offer through Newcastle Councils Staff email- News in Brief.
Sultana takes up the story;
At the time I was looking at doing course to further my learning and increase my knowledge. I was inspired by one of the courses on offer as it will help in my current role. The learning was flexible, I could fit it around my work and home life commitments and it was free, so it thought - why not give it a go, there’s nothing to lose.”
The course Sultana signed up to was “Supporting Children’s Development” as she felt that this course would help in her current work, increase her own knowledge as well as give her some new ideas that she could possibly incorporate into my own work.
Sultana is positive about the courses, and said;
I found the experience easy, stress free as there was no time limit, I could do the course when I had capacity and not stress about meeting deadlines.”
The benefits are that the method of study is flexible, you can fit it around your commitments, you can choose what sections to do and when, as there no stress. You can also collect badges to show your progress.”
She did feel there were some disadvantages as learners are on their own so there is no opportunity for group discussions or sharing ideas, but this was outweighed by the benefits and Sultana has now listed on her CV.
This, she said;
will help in future career prospects as it shows your commitment to improving your own learning and development for the benefit of the organisation.”
Sultana has also benefited from a positive approach from her employer and added that;
My manager is always supportive of my development and encouraging, knowing that I have a capacity to do training and also carry out my duties, and giving me the opportunity to do the courses.
Though Sultana has no plans for future study, she knows that she can always go back and do more courses when it is relevant. Sultana is very positive about the courses that the Open University are offering through the project and would encourage others to give them a go.
I feel that on-line learning is ideal for those who want to learn and develop their skills but may feel that they do not have the capacity due to work commitments to go on training courses. As the on-line format is flexible, you can do it in your own time and fit around work and home life commitments.”
I would recommended to friends and colleagues as there are so many courses available that are free to try. Short taster courses can be tried to see if it is a suitable way of learning for them.”
To find out if the free courses might be for you check out: