Short courses launched by Staffordshire University to address region’s skills gaps.

Bitesize courses, which allow people the opportunity to study at degree level and apply for financial help to do so, will launch at Staffordshire University next month.

The University is one of just 22 universities to trial Higher Education Short Courses as part of the government’s pledge to offer thousands of adults the opportunity to retrain and upskill.

As part of the pilot, Staffordshire University and its college partners will be delivering five courses in subject area such as digital innovation, healthcare and achieving Net Zero.

Staffordshire University Director of Business Development and Enterprise Alastair Dawes said: “The courses have been chosen and developed following consultation with our employer partners to prioritise current skills gaps.

“Although these are developed from existing modules and aligned to the University’s progression routes which allow students to work towards a full degree, employers have been key in terms of identifying the most relevant and in demand skills and supporting the development of content and assessment”

Courses available at Staffordshire with a September or January start are:

  • Alternative Energy in Construction
  • Cloud computing and commercial networking
  • Infection prevention and control
  • Preparing for Carbon Net Zero
  • Web based computing and Programming

Each course, to be studied part-time over 12 or more weeks, costs £3,080. However, under the scheme initiated by The Office for Students (OfS) and the Department for Education (DfE), all applicants will be eligible for a Higher Education Short Course loan and may also qualify for a non-repayable bursary.

Director of Learning and Teaching Nick Dearden said: “Our bitesize modular courses could prove to be a game changer for both the people wanting to build their knowledge and skills and employers in our region looking to boost the economy. It’s a great way for people to experience higher education and build credits towards a degree, one module at a time, without committing to full time study.

“Barriers to higher education include traditional inflexible delivery models and the lack of student finance for short courses but we’re hoping the government’s Lifelong Loan Entitlement (LLE) will change all that.”

Although the LLE is not due to come into full effect until 2025, people enrolling on courses as part of the trial can apply for loans administered by the Student Loans Company and access study support bursaries to help them with study related costs such as books and childcare fees.

Last month, Secretary of State for Education James Cleverly said: “This bursary will break down barriers to learning and give everyone the ability to upskill and retrain at a pace which suits them. It doesn’t matter what their personal situation or background is.

“We are now moving towards a more modern way of learning to provide students with the opportunity to reach their potential whilst meeting the needs of the economy.”

Staffordshire University welcomes applications from people aged 18 and above with a range of educational backgrounds.

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