Posted on October 13, 2011 by Andrea Riddell
Today’s fast-paced and busy world demands that the modern worker become a jack-of-all-trades. But, rather than spending a lifetime studying degrees and higher qualifications, short courses can give you the opportunity to update your skills in just a fraction of the time.
Lasting from one day to one year, short courses are perfect if you are looking to formalize your skills acquired in the workplace or to reinforce your qualifications acquired at university. They can be the key to unlocking job prospects, promotions or new career opportunities – and they will do wonders for your creativity!
Short courses are a great way to fill your knowledge gaps and give you a competitive edge when it comes to promotions. As technology evolves, systems, programs and practices change, making it essential for workers to refresh their skills and stay on top.
Courses in areas of personal development, such as leadership, workplace communication, and conflict resolution, may make you the ideal candidate for a higher role in your workplace. As an employer, these courses can help you effectively manage employee issues and workplace relations and earn you the “Boss of the Year” award. Such skills are easily transferable from one workplace to another and are a great asset on your resume.
Studying for a first aid certificate can also give you transferable skills not only in your career but also in everyday life. For some jobs, certified first aid knowledge is mandatory. For Maria Mu, her time as a flight attendant required her to have a current first aid certificate.
“I was required to have it when I was a flight attendant, but in general it’s a good thing to have.” You are prepared for any situation that may arise and having this knowledge is extremely comforting,” says Mu. ??
If you’re interested in pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams, studying a MYOB or accounting course can give you the skills to effectively manage the “business side” of your business.
??’ Working on the same tasks every day, small business owners run the risk of having their ideas tired and their minds uninspired. A short course, which can offer new ideas and skills, can really stimulate the mind and inspire greater business success,” says Leah Gibbs, Business Director and Founder of Lifestyle Careers.
Short courses can also be used to steer your career in a new direction. Studying a TESOL course, through a leading distance education provider such as SEEK Learning, can open up new opportunities for those who wish to travel and teach abroad.
Taste a career path
Like a taste tester at an ice cream shop, short courses can let you sample the goods before you buy. Getting an overview of the type of knowledge required for a particular industry or field can save you the time and money of studying for a full-time degree.
Starting small can also give you a base from which to continue building your skills. Many short courses can be accredited if your situation requires you to further your qualifications. Short courses can be the perfect way to learn the skills you need at this stage and are also an easy transition to Certificate I courses.??
Some short courses, called transition units or preparatory units, can also help you if you need to brush up on some knowledge for higher education and prepare you for the level of work and study skills that are expected. Some course providers allow you to study individual course units at a time. This not only gives you specific knowledge, but also insight into the nature of the whole qualification without having to commit to three years.
Open Universities Australia allows students to study 13-week undergraduate units individually, so students can pursue their other commitments while studying.
Our students have more diverse backgrounds than traditional face-to-face universities. We provide opportunities for students to work around their personal and professional lives while continuing to receive an education,” said OUA Chief Executive Stuart Hamilton.
Turn your hobbies into something more
If you’ve always wanted to turn your interests into a hobby or even wanted to find a hobby that interests you, short courses can be a great way to start. Studying anything from home gardening to life drawing can be a fun way to get off the couch and learn new skills and knowledge.
“Keeping the mind active is just as important as keeping the body active and learning new things. Those who have taken short courses in fields unrelated to their career show an open and interested mind, an enthusiastic attitude and a lust for life,” says Gibbs.
Pursuing your hobbies can also be a great way to unlock new career options. If you’ve always wished you could turn your hobby into a full-time career, short courses can give you the professional skills and techniques to match your passion. ??
Open colleges short courses give you transferable skills from home to the workplace. This means that if you plan to study a certificate in animal care to look after Pickles the poodle, you will also have the professional training to launch your career in the animal care industry.
Joanne Beckett’s studies in animal care compelled her to seek work with her local veterinarian and pursue a career as an animal groomer.
“I told him I was currently doing animal care with Open Colleges and took away some of my assignments and results. He was quite impressed,” Beckett says.
Learning a language through a short course is also a great way to discover a hobby and give you a competitive edge in the workplace. In today’s global environment, being bilingual is essential to working and communicating internationally and gives you that extra know-how.
What do you want to know
Short courses have a different fee payment structure than longer qualifications and it may not be possible to defer payment or obtain government support. Make sure you are aware of all the financial considerations involved before enrolling in the course.
Also make sure you understand if your course is nationally recognized or can be accredited for further study if you are interested in using your qualification in the workplace or considering further study.
Be aware that for some careers you may still need an undergraduate degree – simply studying a multitude of short courses does not equate to a master’s degree. Also, be wary of listing the 20 short courses you’ve taken on your resume, unless they’re relevant to the jobs you’re applying for. Simply listing a few of your interests can help show that you are a well-rounded and curious person. ??
“Short courses show potential employers that you are motivated, eager to learn and sharp. They show current employers that you are not content to rest on your laurels and that you consider continuous improvement a priority,” says Gibbs.
Although it is a lesser commitment than studying a university degree, you still need to put in the time and effort to do well when studying a short course. Some short courses may require you to take exams, attend a certain number of classes, or hand in assignments in order to meet requirements. The onus is on you to succeed, but the benefits are worth it.
Do you feel inspired? With more than 1000 short courses offered on ShortCourseFinder, you’re bound to find something to pique your curiosity. So whether it’s gardening or building your own business, take a short course today!