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Becoming a Mature Student

An option for some on leaving the military may be the chance to go onto further education (perhaps using your Enhanced Learning Credits) – complete the degree you always really wanted to do or take a course to enhance your employability.

An economic downturn often sees an up-shift in applications for College and University courses as the competition for jobs gets increasingly fiercer prompting many to re-evaluate what they have to offer on their CV and opting to invest in continued training.

You need to be aware of a few considerations prior to committing to this route as it may have been sometime since you looked at the Adult Education system beyond what the military will have provided: 

  •  How much will the courses cost in terms of tuition fees?
  • Can I get a Bursary? – Some courses are eligible for this – check with the provider.
  • Can I afford to take a career break to commit to full-time study or do I need to find a part-time course that may take longer but will allow me to continue to meet my financial obligations?
  • What are the academic entry requirements? Will the provider of training accept accreditation for prior learning or experience?
  • What is the competition like for places on the course and how can I demonstrate commitment to study?
  • Is the course I am considering doing being asked for in job adverts I am seeing or is there something more current I need to consider?
  • Is the course vocational or recreational? Am I doing the course because I recognise a need or skill gap, or am I doing it purely for interest?
  • Am I considering a course at the correct level based on my background, experience and available resources?

You may want to check with your local Education Centre to see what free training courses you can attend that may aid your employability, or just to brush up on literacy and numeracy skills prior to leaving.

University Short Courses

A tri-Service scheme exists to enhance the general educational development of Service personnel in relation to specific appointments. Short courses on topics like economics, politics and social welfare are run free of charge at universities and other training institutions. Ask in your nearest education/learning centre for details or look in DINs. Alternatively call 01722 433525 (Army) 023927 27832 (Navy) 01400 268179 (RAF)

University and College Courses

The Information below is taken from the UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) website and contains data produced indicating the levels of applications for admissions for 2010 in relation to applicant figures for 2009: (2010/11 figures are not yet available).

"As in previous years, we're seeing a rise in demand for undergraduate courses in the UK. Applications are up across the board - young people clearly see higher education as a good option for continued learning and career progression, international applicants are attracted by our world-class higher education provision, and we're also seeing more mature students apply."
Mary Curnock Cook, UCAS Chief Executive

  • The number of female applicants has risen by 12.4%, with male applicants up 10.5%. This means that female applicants make up 56.5% of the cohort in 2010.
  • Applications from all age groups are up on 2009 figures, with those from older applicants seeing the largest percentage rises, continuing the recent trend of pronounced increases in mature applicants. Applicants aged 21-24 have risen by 14.9%; those aged 25-39 have risen by 22.6%; those aged 40 and above have risen by 23.3%.
  • Within the UK, although the figures indicate that the number of applicants from Scotland has risen by 20.5%, this is mostly attributable to those who would previously have used Scotland's CATCH system. When adjusted to take CATCH into account - to help make a more direct comparison with 2009 applicant numbers - the percentage rise is 4.6 per cent.
  • Applicant numbers from other EU countries have risen by 22.3% in 2010; this compares to a rise in 2009 of 15.4%. Much of this is accounted for by applicants from the Republic of Ireland, the number of whom has risen from 5,973 in 2009 to 8,075 in 2010.
  • China continues to lead the way in international applications to UK higher education with 9,393 applicants, up 11.7% from 2009. Other countries with significant increases include: Lithuania (87.6 % increase), Ireland (35.2% increase), Singapore (15.6% increase) and Hong Kong (12.2% increase).
  • As at 30 June 2010, there were 56,960 applicants who previously applied, representing a 24% rise in re-appliers compared to 2009. This figure includes applicants who withdrew or decided not to take up places, as well as those who were unsuccessful in securing a place in 2009, and represents 8.6% of the total 2010 cohort (up from 7.8% in 2009).

Contact your Careers Consultant through CTP for guidance on training options – they are there to support you for up to two years post discharge should you need advice and guidance.