Free courses to help students with future plans

UCAS has launched two useful new courses to help students, and the people who advise them, when it comes to making decisions on life after high school.

There are more options open to young people than ever before, so deciding what the future holds can be tricky. UCAS’ two courses are designed to highlight the options open to learners, and to get their advisers – teachers, parents or carers, for instance – up to speed with what’s out there.

The free courses are available through FutureLearn, the worldwide online learning platform. Smart Advice: Broadening Your Students’ Horizons gives teachers practical advice for supporting their students in the decision-making process for life after school, including tips on research, insight into the changing career landscape, information on higher education, apprenticeships, gap years and getting into work. The course is made up on videos and articles, and gives teaching staff the chance to ask questions and discuss with specialists, including experiences careers advisers and uni and college admissions staff.

A partner course, Smart Choices: Broadening Your Horizons, is on offer to help students see what’s available for them after school.

The advisers’ course will run for two weeks, from 23 October, and only takes up two to three hours each week, while the student option starts on 6 November.

This is a great opportunity for young people, and their teachers, to check out what’s out there ahead of the UCAS deadline. Last year, over 5,200 advisers took part in the course. One participant on the adviser course said: “I now feel better equipped to be the first point of contact to provide information, advice and guidance.”

A student commented: “I vaguely knew what I wanted to do, but the course has made me more certain and I’ve taken steps to actually make things happen… I have realised that there’s more to think about than just picking a course.”

Rebecca Bale, Careers Information and Advice Lead at UCAS, said: “We know how time-pressed teachers are, and how hard it can be for students to choose their next step when there’s so much riding on it. That’s why we’ve come up with these courses. They can find all the information in one place, and take the short course from the comfort of their home or school, at their own pace.

“These free online courses, or massive open online courses (MOOCs), are a new venture for UCAS, and we’ve had great feedback and response from teachers and their students. For UCAS, they enable us to engage in an ever improving dialogue with our customers, so that we understand them better and can support them more fully in providing information and advice to young people about all their options.”

Registration for both courses is open now via FutureLearn.