More free courses in response to Covid-19 employment impact

The University of Aberdeen is offering people the opportunity to study one of a range of online short courses for free, as it continues to play its part in helping those whose employment has been affected by Covid-19.

Since August last year, nearly 500 people have participated in 36 courses at the University at no cost, thanks to a fund that is designed to help people whose livelihoods have been impacted by the pandemic to retrain or upskill. 

The third and final phase of the scheme will see £205,692 allocated to fund over 200 free places.  Applications are now open until 5pm on Monday 22 March, with the courses starting in May and June 2021.

The opportunity comes via the Scottish Funding Council’s Upskilling Fund, which has provided over £775,000 in funding to support the free places on offer.  This includes an extra £167,509 in this phase, acknowledging the ongoing and acute need for upskilling and reskilling opportunities among those who are unemployed or at risk of unemployment due to Covid-19.

The part-time courses are designed to fit around full-time work and allow people to study with expert academics, add postgraduate skills to their CV and earn University credits they can build up into postgraduate qualifications, including Masters’ degrees.

The career-focused courses span a range of disciplines, covering key areas such as decommissioning, project planning, leadership and management, fintech and big data, health and wellbeing and many more.

Marcus Herbert, an experienced Pipeline Systems and Joint Venture Manager living in Aberdeen, was made redundant last year and was awarded a fully funded place on an online short course (Decommissioning of Offshore Installations: Regulatory Aspects) in September.

He said: “The opportunity to study online couldn’t have come at a better time. It introduced structure to my day that was missing due to both my personal circumstances and everything else that was going on around me.

“Now I’m having conversations with potential employers about my studies and that has been really well received."

Gillian Mackintosh, Director of Academic Services and Online Education, from the University of Aberdeen, commented: “The personal testimonies of those who have undertaken one of our free online study programmes demonstrate just how valuable the scheme has been in helping people improve their employment and career prospects.

“Many of those who have studied with us have had their employment affected by Covid-19, and might have found it difficult to upskill or retrain without the opportunity to work towards a professional qualification at no personal cost.

“We are delighted at the exceptional response we have had to each phase of the scheme, and we hope that this third and final phase will result in an equally positive response, especially as we have been given extra funding to support those who are unemployed or at risk of unemployment due to Covid-19.

“The University is committed to serving our local communities and this scheme is another example of how we are playing our part in helping drive regional economic recovery here in the north-east of Scotland.”

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