Frequently Asked Questions
Qualifications, do I need them?
It’s a way for people, who don’t know you, to be sure that you are capable of doing something (you are qualified to do) properly. They prove that you have learned knowledge to a set standard. Qualifications help you find work that suits you best, build a career or start a new one.
Which qualifications are on offer?
learndirect offer a number of RQF and Access to Higher Education Diplomas. We’ve grouped them by topics depending on your interest, see all our courses and qualifications here. We’ve carefully chosen a mix to suit getting a new job, career progression or getting you a place on the university degree course you want. All of our qualification are provided by recognised and regulated UK awarding bodies.
What is a Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) course, is it as good as a Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF)?
Ofqual regulated RQF courses have replaced QCF courses. Many colleges still use the old terminology as it's more familiar, but they are all RQF now. They are vocational courses leading towards a specialist area of work. Some courses involve work experience/practical training, they have a recognised value and an RQF qualification shows that you have put the effort in, been assessed, moderated by an independent external moderator and succeeded in achieving this grade of learning.
What are Access to Higher Education Diplomas?
Access to Higher Education Diplomas help prepares people without traditional qualifications for study at university. Access to Higher Education Diplomas are available in a range of different subjects to help you get access to popular university degree courses such as Health Studies, Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work.
All universities are different, so if you know what area you wish to specialise in at university, and you have an idea of which university you wish to attend, it's a good idea to check with their admissions department. It’s important to confirm that they will accept the Access to Higher Education Diploma you wish to study as fulfilling the entrance criteria for their degree course.
Is one Level 3 course the same as another?
The level at which a course is set tells people the level of difficulty at which you have achieved a qualification. Level 3 is similar to an A-level. Not all courses are the same, if a course has a recognised Level, and is awarded by a separate Ofqual monitored awarding body, it has more value than a course which has no recognised qualification or awarded by an unregulated organisation.
How will I learn?
With learndirect you can do the majority of your studying remotely. In this way you can study around your existing commitments whether they be your existing job, children, family, no matter what it is you can study in your own time. We understand taking time out to study full-time can expensive which is one of the biggest reasons why we developed our innovative learning platform which gives you total control over when you study. We call this blended learning.
What is blended learning?
With learndirect you can study on our interactive online learning platform that carries all our course information and learning materials. Blended learning means you get all the advantages of being able to study online, together with the advantage of having practical, hands-on learning in the workplace. The course materials are presented in an attractive way, there are pictures, text, videos, interactive quizzes and games which all combine to provide rich content. There are also built- in employability skills (EILS) that provide challenge points to help you improve your skill-set.
The challenge points are in Digital skills, Confidence, Resilience, Meeting Deadlines, Workplace ready, English and Maths
Can I study whilst still in my current job?
Yes, none of the courses offered here are full-time courses where you need to visit a college. You can study in your own time although some courses may require a work placement.
What are work placements?
Some courses, e.g. Teaching Assistant, will ask that you complete a compulsory work placement of at least 50 hours in order to complete your course. Along with the first set of course materials, learners receive a comprehensive guide giving them plenty of information on what is required during the placement, including advice on how to set it up and the materials needed to submit evidence of learning. Other courses, e.g. Health and Social care might require that you do 100 or more hours in the kind of workplace that relates to your studies. These are invaluable opportunities to learn and, in some cases, earn at the same time, and are an essential part of the learning experience, so plan ahead as soon as you have chosen a course from our list in the courses & qualifications section.
If I can get a job straight away, will I ever need a qualification?
That depends on your long term plans. You may be able to get right to the top without a qualification, but most people change jobs at some point, at which time it helps to be able to prove your skills learned 'on the job' have a firm foundation. Not having qualifications can be a barrier to promotion later when there are a lot of applicants for a really good job.
How long will it take?
Each qualification that we offer has a number of guided learning hours (GLH) assigned to it. GLH’s are the awarding bodies estimation of the amount of study time is necessary to complete your qualification. The larger the GLH the longer it will take to complete your studies so the time it will take to complete your studies does depend on how much spare time you have. When you browse each qualification the number of hours can be found on its enrolment page. If you fund your course using an Advanced Learner Loan there will be a maximum time period in which you have to complete your course.
How do I pay?
You can pay for your course in full with cash upfront or if you are 19 years of age or over you can apply for a 19+ Advanced Learner Loan. To find out more about funding options check out our How you pay section.
Am I eligible for any student discounts while studying with learndirect?
All our professional development students are eligible for the NUS Extra card, which gives you access to over 200 UK student discounts with brands like Co-op, Amazon and ASOS. You’ll also receive a free 1 year ISIC (International Student Identity Card), which provides discounts in over 130 countries across the world!
Apply and find out more at https://cards.nusextra.co.uk/