We are all familiar with the saying, ‘you can’t get a job without experience, and you can’t get experience without a job’. Then, once you’ve got a ‘foot in the door’, the next thing to consider is the best way to make yourself even more attractive to potential employers. Adding a diploma to your experience is a good start.
Diploma graduates get hired faster than university graduates who’ve just completed their course, especially in industries with skill shortages. Not only that, but the long-term unemployment rate for those with a diploma is just 5%, compared to 9% for those with a bachelor degree.
Graduates who undertake diploma study while employed also have the skills to cope with multiple challenges at once, an invaluable workforce tool. The trick is learning how to juggle work while gaining a qualification.
Thanks to online learning, that’s never been easier.
The best of both worlds
A 2017 study found the median first-year income for a diploma graduate was $56,000, compared to a recently-graduated degree holder on $54,000. Getting a diploma is a great incentive for anybody entering the full-time workforce.
Those salaries can increase exponentially the further up the totem pole you go. For example, you might be playing a long game, and eyeing off a promotion within the next two to three years. Part of securing that job would be better qualifications. If that is the case, it’s good to consider; how will you fit study into a schedule that might already include a job with hefty amounts of overtime? That’s where flexible study comes in.
Choosing a course provider who offers flexible study means that you can accommodate to unexpected life events, or schedules that get too busy. The College for Adult Learning helps their students by offering the options to defer or extend your course. CAL allows free six-month extensions and deferrals of up to three months. You may have a big work project to undertake, so you can put study on hold while you tackle the task at hand. Even a long-planned family getaway can be taken with little impact on your diploma, other than a slightly delayed finish.
These deferrals and extensions can be applied for in the final six months of the course, so the smart move would be to get well and truly established in your course first. That way, a pattern of study is second nature by the time you return from a study break.
Making flexible study work for you
Everybody is busy, and finding the right balance between your personal and professional lives can be tricky. Throwing online study into the mix doesn’t require a complete overhaul, especially if you plan it right – and the advantages are enormous.
A recent Household, Income, and Labour Dynamics study found average commute times have increased 20% since 2002, now sitting at an average of 66 minutes per day. Studying online suddenly takes that onerous travel time-waster completely out of the picture. You can complete your course in the comfort of your home instead of sitting behind the steering wheel or watching the world crawl by from a train or bus.
Online students are generally more motivated to get the job done IF you make your learning ‘space’ as comfortable as possible. The correct lighting and temperature are important to help you focus, but more critically you should try to set aside at least part of every day to help develop the right study habits. Experts recommend a 2-3 hour block per session, allowing you time to ‘get into the groove’.
Regular engagement and testing during online courses is a huge benefit, too. A research team from Harvard University has found this type of learning cuts student distraction rates in half, improves content retention, and triples the amount of note-taking students undertake. Anyone who’s stared into space while sitting in a classroom understands just how valuable those factors can be.
The upside keeps getting better
Studying a diploma online through CAL can be financially smart, too. Apart from setting yourself up to earn a better salary, day-to-day expenses can be slashed. There are no transport costs, such as fuel, parking, or public transport. Even day-to-day expenses like lunch and coffee that add up so quickly over a year become a non-issue.
Making it easier to balance your work and social life is another advantage that really can pay dividends. Studies have found that a happy worker can be 12% more productive than the average, while unhappy workers can be 10% worse. That applies equally to students or those undertaking online study.
There is more to consider than money. When Google introduced employee support schemes and programs, overall worker satisfaction soared by 37%. That satisfaction had nothing to do with an increase in pay. If you get the balance right, you won’t just be happier, but your studies are likely to improve too. Online studying means you don’t have to organise your life around your studies. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
The beauty of undertaking a course through CAL is that it allows you to defer or extend, giving you that extra ‘breathing space’ if you’re struggling to maintain the balance. Having full control over your study schedule is a powerful tool. A study by IBM found students learn five times more material in online learning courses using multimedia content than in traditional classrooms or lecture halls.
You’re even taking better care of the environment since online courses create 90% less energy and 85% less CO2 emissions per student than those in a classroom.
The CAL experience
The College For Adult Learning’s online training models offers more than a qualification. Students graduate with their qualification, plus they walk away with the skills to innovate and become leaders, the confidence to be creative, and the hunger to find and solve workplace challenges.
An important factor to remember is that you’re never alone. There’s unlimited access to industry experts, career planning advice, and hours of elective tutorials to help you on your way.
Being able to do it all
CAL was flexible and understanding when Shannon needed extra time to complete her Double Diploma of Human Resources and Leadership Management. Studying with CAL gave Shannon the confidence in areas of HR that she didn’t have before completing this course. “I could complete the course in my own time, around my working schedule and contact a coach easily to discuss any queries or concerns.”
Ann deferred her Business Administration diploma after commencing a new job that required a substantial amount of overtime. A few months later, she contacted CAL to get going again. “I now feel like I’m in a better position to refocus on finishing my diploma. I only have two subjects left, and I would love to complete the second part of this course as I have thoroughly enjoyed it so far. I have learned so much and found myself applying many of these skills in my new role.”
Easy adjustments for peace of mind
David and his wife found themselves needing to get an extension due to a short-term change in their financial situation. He wrote to us to say, “Many thanks for approving my Leadership and Management diploma extension. It will take the pressure off and give us breathing space.”
Reaching goals in your own time
When Varsha realised she was unable to finish her Business and Leadership Management diploma in the timeframe required, she reached out to her learning coach. Once her extension was approved, she sent this message: “Thanks for helping me to put a learning plan in place to follow so I can achieve my goal of graduating.”
Why it’s all worth it
It’s not even two decades since Australian students were first offered online learning courses, but the growth has been phenomenal. The Survey of Education and Work conducted in May 2018 found that one-fifth of Australians were undertaking study at the time the survey was taken, and 20% of them were doing so online. Interestingly, 47% of respondents who described themselves as primarily ‘on-campus’ students still have at least some online component to their course.
The number of online students has doubled in the past ten years, and it’s no surprise. A lot of people have bypassed the classroom or lecture hall, to take advantage of what online learning offers.
And it offers plenty. The ability to study at your pace, in your place, has enormous financial and practical advantages. Are you taking care of kids or an elderly relative? You can study online and do that. Working a full-time job is no barrier either. If your workload ebbs and flows (like most of us), you can tailor your learning to suit, including extensions or deferment.
There’s virtually no life circumstance that an online learning course can’t accommodate. You set the pace, you’re in control, and at the end of the course, you’ll have a qualification that does more than get your foot in the door. What a CAL online diploma proves to your employer is that you’re dedicated to bettering yourself and that you’ve got what it takes to make the sacrifices you need to to achieve your goals.
In a world where multiple careers are becoming the norm, adaptability and commitment in the workplace are valuable assets indeed. That’s a powerful message to send to the next employer who might just be lucky enough to employ you.