Start the year with a new direction? Read our guide to lifelong learning in 2023

While we are all trying to navigate the cost-of-living crisis, the start of a new year may feel more of a challenge than in previous years. However, challenging times could be an opportunity for many to reconsider their goals and whether it is time for a change of direction.

If a new career is the leaf you would like to turn over and you are considering returning to learning in 2023, you are in the right place.

Why should I return to study?

Our students often tell us about the benefits they get from studying; including helping them to broaden their mind, develop confidence in their abilities, opportunities to pursue their interests and expand their knowledge and make new friends and build new networks.

Studying as a mature student has lifelong benefits and can bring about lots of rewards; and often leads to new career opportunities. In recent years, our students have graduated and become teachers, social workers, counsellors, university lecturers, nursery managers, admin managers, local government and universities, plus a wide range of other rewarding careers.

Read our UG student Charlotte’s story on returning to study a full-time degree alongside her work over 8 years’ time. Interested in postgraduate studies? Read our PG student Rose’s blog on starting her diploma with us after working in the sector for years.

How can I be supported during my study?

The thought of returning to study may feel difficult during these challenging times, and the barriers may feel many and hard to overcome. With a little research, however, you may find these barriers are easier to overcome than they seem.

For instance, if you are concerned about the cost of studying, why not check out the fee loans, maintenance loans and even bursaries? If you need support with childcare costs, you may also be able to access that. 

A mom and son sitting in front of a desktop computer. Mother putting a hand on the boy's shoulder guiding him through

Can I really pass the assessments and complete the course?

Lack of confidence or ‘imposter syndrome’ is often quoted by our learners as a reason not to study. They are not keen at the thought of sitting amongst 18-year-old students or feeling that they themselves do not deserve to be there. And then there is the fear of writing essays and sitting exams. 

At the Centre for Lifelong Learning, many of our courses aren’t assessed by exams. And we offer lots of support; for instance, we have a student support team, and current students act as digital mentors for us. 

Am I too old to study?

At our Centre, the average age of students is 36 and the eldest student is 82. It’s never too late to try. Often, our students find they have more confidence to speak up in a seminar as they have knowledge that can only come from life experience, and they learn a lot from their younger peers.

An elderly woman on her phone in an outdoor setting with trees behind her

Our 2+2 degree is full-time and focuses on building confidence. Students spend the first two years of this degree studying at a local college. This enables them to gain the skills to prepare them for the final two years, which are based at the university. Why not taking a look at our student Carol’s story where she studied 2+2 and then a Masters.

Am I too busy to study?

Often, the hardest barriers to overcome involve commitments. Adult life often comes with many of those, involving children, parents, work and/or relationships. Finding a flexible programme that can fit around your life may seem impossible, but there are options at local colleges and universities.

At the centre, our Early Childhood Foundation Degree has been designed to suit those who work full-time, with lectures taking place in the evening and on Saturdays. There’s also a part-time degree programme with a range of day-time modules, and with the option of some limited evening study.

Two adult female sitting in front of a lap top together in a library setting

The recruitment team is here to help further

If you’re ready to find out more about how you can overcome any (and all!) of these barriers, and you think this could be your year to prove you can do it, then why not arrange to speak with one of our recruitment team? They’ll be happy to help guide you in the right direction.


View our full range of courses, student services, news, and events on the Centre for Lifelong Learning website.

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