Amid ageing population and growing demand for carers, flexible training may be a game-changer

Health and Social Care is among the most popular subjects for adult home learners seeking a career change, reports one of the UK’s largest distance learning providers.

As Carers Week 2019 begins, Open Study College figures reveal that the CACHE Level 2 Certificate in Health and Social Care places in the top three most subscribed courses every month, ahead of some 600 other courses available.

Female enrolment is particularly strong; the course finds greatest popularity with women in the 18-45 age bracket but is a leader in all female age groups.

Caring for the Elderly and Supporting Individuals with Learning Disabilities are also popular with students of the further education college, which has seen over 75,000 distance learners in the past decade.

The news comes amid a growing need for health and social care professionals, with the UK already facing a shortfall of at least 90,000 adult social care staff. This gap could grow to as high as 380,000 by 2026, according to the Global Futures thinktank.*

Samantha Rutter, CEO of Open Study College, said: “Health and social care have always been vital to society, but they are becoming increasingly important due to a number of different factors, in particular the UK’s aging population.

“Against this backdrop, it’s a really positive development that many people looking for career development or change are preparing themselves to take advantage of the UK’s growing demand for these skills. This could start to provide a much-needed boost to the adult social care skills gap.”

Motivations reported by students of health and social care revealed the desire for career change as the most significant driver.

Asked why they opted for a distance learning course over a traditional format, the key factors were flexibility and the ability to balance study with existing commitments.

“We see many single parents with demanding childcare situations, women on maternity leave and both part-time and full-time workers looking to learn while they continue to earn,” added Samantha Rutter.

“Distance learning allows them to study these highly popular courses flexibly wherever they choose, with the support of an expert tutor, to progress their health and social care career at a pace that suits them.”

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