An innovative, flexible pathway back into education

For people looking to start their education, new paths to learning are opening up possibilities and future prospects.

Statistics show time and again that the better educated we are, the more money we are likely to earn.

As a result, many people who have left education without getting a degree, or who feel that they could have more opportunities by getting a qualification later in life, are weighing up their options for further learning.

Of course full-time study isn’t always compatible with a full-time job. Arden University has an approach that puts the needs of busy students front and centre, offering flexible and distance learning built around a digital platform. The aim is to ensure higher education is accessible, engaging and relevant, while addressing the skills shortages that are having a negative impact across industries.

It’s an innovative approach by necessity: the world doesn’t stand still, and neither should the way people are educated. With offices in Coventry and in operation since 1990, Arden University has, since 2015, been an international online distance-learning institution with five study centres around the UK offering blended learning provision with full degree-awarding powers.

“Arden University offers flexible and distance learning built around a digital platform.”

Victoria Stakelum, the university’s deputy CEO, says that Arden was designed around its students, whose experience is tailored to the institution’s core values. “We deliver programmes that are highly workplace relevant,” she explains, “with up-to-date information readily available these days, knowledge becomes redundant in a matter of moments.

“We have always been about accessibility. Modern technology makes access better than ever before: we give 24/7 online support, and students can be following a course from anywhere in the world, so the majority of our students are able to combine their studies with their working lives.”

The effect, she says, gives people “skills and the capability to learn, so they can be far more effective in the workplace”.

Education that fits 

Matthew Cooper, Arden’s director of business and technology programmes and MBA programme leader, says that the university appeals directly and specifically to people who have felt excluded from traditional universities. “We often hear people say that further education is ‘not for someone like me’. People have to manage work and family life and they think they have to give up their job. Actually, there are real pathways to achieving a qualification around other commitments.

“We never say that you don’t have to make sacrifices, but the feedback from graduates is that it is always worth it.”

Cooper says that a key focus for the university is relevance. “Employers tell us that the skills and expertise with which people leave university are not always what they need,” he says. “Our students leave us not only with a great qualification, but as a complete work-ready graduate with all their previous life and work experience.”

The university describes its industry-accredited courses as modern, innovative and highly flexible, and emphasises that its programmes are based on career and work requirements with specific focus on the skills and attributes students need to succeed in their career.

“That’s our agenda,” says Victoria Stakelum, “and that’s why we’re leading the way to a new understanding of what it means to study in the 21st century.”

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