RMIT University’s flexible learning programs let those with work and life commitments meet industry experts and develop their career.
Graham Airey, acting Head of the School of Vocational Business Education believes that studying vocational qualifications as a professional has never been more accessible.
“We offer vocational qualifications in a range of delivery modes, each with their own advantages to different student cohorts.”
“They are suited for those with a busy schedule wanting to move into a new industry or improve their existing skills or knowledge.”
“Some students with industry experience are eligible to get a head start with their studies through Recognition of Prior Learning.”
This includes the highly-successful Diploma of Conveyancing, suitable for mature-age students who already have jobs and at least a year’s experience in conveyancing.
“Two-thirds of all students in RMIT’s financial services programs, like the Diploma of Financial Planning, are studying part-time while they work. And those in the 30-39 age group are responsible for most of these programs’ growth. It’s never too late to up-skill.”
Nor is it necessary to take two or three years to complete a Master’s or Bachelor’s degree - which might well end up unsuitable for your desired career path.
According to Robert Sheen - Industry Group Manager - an ‘evening intensive mode’ of face-to-face classes, with delivery across three semesters was the best way to achieve the outcomes of the Financial Services program.
“There’s also plenty of out-of-class work, particularly in the workplace, which means that it’s really important that students have the support of their employers.”
“Those who complete the course though will then be in a very good position to start their own business.”
One fully-online course is the Diploma of Logistics (Online), which is offered through Open Universities Australia.
The Diploma program involves online collaborative sessions via video conferencing every Tuesday and Thursday evening - ideal for those in the workforce seeking to formalise their professional experience.
“You can take the program full-time over one year - though we recommend two years of part-time study to allow yourself ample time for both your professional and academic commitments.”
Acting Industry Group Manager for the Program Tim Wallis is enthusiastic to point out the accessibility to women of this study mode.
“We quite proud of the high representation of women students in the program.”
“While the industry has around 28 per cent female workforce, at the moment 41 per cent of our students are women, which we attribute largely to the online learning model.”
Students can enjoy the best of both worlds with ‘Blended delivery’, which combines face-to-face workshops and online learning - for instance the industry-recognized 16-week Certificate IV in Bookkeeping, and the nationally recognized Diploma of Business (Public Relations).
Blended learning gives students a great opportunity to embrace the flexibility of online study yet still get access to the inherent peer support available from face-to-face workshops.
Finally, there’s a fourth learning model, which combines workshops and mentoring: the Certificate IV: Developing and Managing your Small Business involves one full weekday per week over 12 weeks (for a total of 84 contact hours).
Students are assessed on the plan that they put together for their own small business and given one-on-one mentoring to ensure that they can successfully launch their business.
The Certificate IV is unique among the suite of RMIT programs.
“Typically, when you study at a university, you’re aiming to get a job at some business or convince your boss to give you a promotion.”
“With the Certificate IV, though, it’s all about becoming your own boss.”
“Our industry-responsive short courses utilise the latest in learning technologies to deliver the cutting-edge training that industry demands.”
“These technologies include iBooks, videos on iTunes U, Google Workbook and Google Sites - developed as a result of two grants received from ODVE and the Australian Flexible Learning Framework.”
Yet while much ado has been made on the opportunities around entirely online courses and learning technologies, Head of School Graham Airey believes it’s still important to keep learning as collaborative as possible.
“The relationship between a student and a teacher, and their peers whether that be in a classroom or over a camera and monitor, is essential if we are to avoid our students feeling isolated; teleconferencing technology lets us simulate the classroom, not replace it.”
“Massive Open Online Courses are often only suited to those who are exceptionally strong self-directed learners.”
“Most of us continue to work best, and most consistently, when we work together - and I think that this is why universities are going to be in business for some time to come.”
With RMIT, you don’t need to quit your day job to upskill: the University’s flexible-learning mode of learning allows existing professionals to study - and be mentored - with the help of industry-compliant online modules while fitting in with the demands of the students’ own working life.