As the world celebrates the twentieth International Youth Day (12 Aug), one of the UK’s leading distance learning providers reveals young learners are increasingly seeking the benefits of flexible education to enhance their knowledge and skills.

In keeping with the 2019 theme of ‘Transforming Education’, Open Study College surveyed more than 300 students who explained how distance learning gave them a way to progress professionally and academically while managing work, family and even health considerations.

The findings also showed how motivations for studying generally changed as students progressed through their life. Younger learners expressed an eagerness to develop their skills, education and careers, while older students are more likely to study for enjoyment, develop a new skill or to refresh their existing knowledge.

Open Study College have noticed a vast and growing interest in remote learning among the younger demographic. In fact, two thirds of students currently registered with Open Study College are aged between 16 and 24, which is a considerable share of the 75,000 students who have studied with the provider to date.

While A Level courses remain the most popular choice among younger learners, vocational subjects such as childcare, health care, beauty and animal care are also very popular with this age group.

Samantha Rutter, CEO at Open Study College, said, “It is no surprise to see learners taking on additional A Levels and are looking to study after leaving school. According to the State of Education report in 2017, secondary school leaders expressed how a narrowing curriculum and a reduced choice of academic subjects was a real concern for many schools.

“I think students can feel this shift too as many school leavers come to us and other distance learning providers seeking additional A Levels and vocational courses. Some students catch up on missed qualifications, while others seek to broaden their knowledge in a way that they might not have been able to while still at school.”

Open Study College has found young learners choose distance learning as they value the convenience and wellbeing benefits it can offer. They view distance learning as a tool which allows them to take full control of their education, fitting their studies around their schedule, health and career responsibilities. Students say it has provided them with an opportunity to remove some of the pressures associated with receiving an education while studying in a more inclusive and accessible way.

Samantha continues, “Events such as International Youth Day gives us a real reason to look at what matters most to the young people in our society. This year’s theme of ‘Transforming Education’ is particularly interesting to us as it has always been our mission to make education more accessible.

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“I see distance learning as an important part of the picture in improving access to education. This form of learning has helped students who may not have considered further education to access a platform where they feel empowered to improve their career prospects. Many tell us that learning in this way has had a dramatic impact on their life, both personally and professionally, allowing them to reach their goals. It is truly never too late to learn.”

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