Michelle Donelan

@EducationGovUK - Short university courses to provide flexible training 

  • Students to benefit from flexible study options, as up to 20 universities and colleges to be funded to run short courses
  • Trial backed by bespoke loans for students on short courses, allowing learners to upskill or retrain at a pace that fits their lives 
  • Competition paves the way for Government reforms to post-16 education, helping adults upskill and retrain throughout their life 

People looking to study or train throughout their lives will have access to short university or college courses, in a major shake-up of traditional higher education.

Universities and further education colleges have been invited to bid for a share of £2million to create new ‘short courses’ across five important subject areas; STEM, healthcare, digital innovation, education, and supporting Net Zero. Providers will be tasked with developing courses under these topics 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 post-16 education. 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 the next major step in the Government’s Lifelong Learning Entitlement which will allow adult learners to study more flexibly through short courses, allowing them to upskill, retrain, and work towards a full qualification as both their circumstances and the economy change

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said:

“Ensuring everyone is given the opportunity to reach their full potential, no matter their age or life stage, is a vital part of our mission to level up this country.

“By trialling university short courses – backed up by new, flexible student loans – we are giving people the chance to learn at a pace that is right for them.

“Learning is a lifelong journey, and this competition is a critical step in creating courses which meet the needs of learners, employers and our wider economy.”

The Lifelong Learning Entitlement is a key part of the Prime Minister’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee, which will offer tens of thousands of adults the chance to retrain in later life, gain in-demand skills and open further job opportunities.

 Through this trial, government will work with universities and colleges to pilot a range of high-quality courses which support sectors vital to our economy, such as healthcare, education and STEM.

The trial will also see the first ever ‘flexible’ student loan arrangements – in which students will have access to a bespoke loan to support them for the duration of their short course. More flexible student finance is at the heart of the Government’s plan for lifelong learning, which will see a ‘Lifelong Loan Entitlement’ giving learners access to financial support for different courses throughout their lifetime.

Chair of the Office for Students, Lord Wharton said:

“Higher education plays a vital role in our country’s economic and social prosperity. These new short courses will enable students to study in a way which works for them, rather than committing to a three or four year degree which isn’t for everyone.

“It is important to break down existing barriers around access to higher education, and these courses help to further add to the diversity of England’s well regarded higher education system. I encourage all universities and colleges to consider applying for this important funding which will help ensure the doors of our universities are open to anyone with the ability to succeed.” 

David Wallace, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Customer Officer for the Student Loans Company said:

“SLC exists to enable people to invest in their futures through further and higher education, as such we’re delighted to be supporting the Department for Education and the Office for Students in the delivery of this trial.”

The Higher Education Short Course Challenge is a DfE initiative being delivered through the Office for Students – providers have until 28 September 2021 to submit bids.

Winners will be announced in November, with courses expected from run from September 2022.

Government has been working with the Office for Students and the Student Loans Company to design a trial that will test learner behaviours, piloting bespoke short courses to meet employers’ needs.

This Higher Education Short Course (HESC) trial is just one of the steps we are taking to test the effectiveness of the Life-Long Learning Entitlement (LLE), informing our decisions prior to bringing the LLE into place by 2025.

Universities and colleges will be given further guidance by the OfS on the criteria course entries will be assessed by.

They will be asked to demonstrate how the courses will benefit learners and the value the courses will have for employers.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page