The one thing that can help someone grow in their career is also the hardest to access. Education.
The need to constantly learn is a feature of the modern workforce. The landscape of employment is changing faster than ever before, largely due to the increasingly rapid change brought on by the constant development of technology.
And yet, it’s increasingly challenging for people to pick up the skills they need to get – and stay – ahead.
Schools like yours are right at the heart of what is needed to fuel the economy. It’s not like we’re in the 70’s or 80’s, when someone who graduated university could go on to find a job and work for decades without needing much additional training. Today’s working professionals are constantly needing to adapt to evolving industry standards and technologies.
The businesses that employ your alumni rely on training at schools like yours to…
Fill knowledge gaps - failure to do so means they can’t keep up with competitors. Skills gaps = lower profitability
Improve retention – less skills training means lower morale, lower productivity, higher workplace stress…
Avoid a hiring cycle – Truth is, every employee is going to need further education at some point in their career. Constant hiring cycles cost money, both in the recruitment process and in loss of output. It’s unsustainable.
Adults need the opportunity to further their education, and businesses, quite frankly, can’t afford not to offer them. And yet – it’s not getting any more accessible. If anything, access is declining.
Meanwhile, the 2022 academic year is set to be the hardest one on record for prospective students. Getting into university is no longer a given with great A-levels and high marks; students with exceptional academic performance are being turned down, and many graduates are struggling to find work.
What’s more concerning is the financial burden students face simply by trying to better their lives. New student loan entry requirements make getting funding harder, and widen inequality – an IFS report concluded that 1 in 4 black pupils could be barred from university. Students who enter university who don’t have a level 4 or higher in their GCSE Maths and English are posed to no longer receive any financial assistance. This means even bright, passionate, and dedicated students who may struggle with testing or have learning difficulties are being ostracised from higher education.
Systematic changes are obviously needed, but there are other solutions available here and now. Adult education courses are emerging as the strongest alternative to universities, so much so that many businesses are financing them over degrees.
Let’s start at the beginning of adult life. Broadly, university is no longer an option for many people, and there are a few reasons why. First of all, the financial commitment is simply too much for the average person. Students in the UK are paying approximately £9,250 per year. To put that into perspective, that’s more than half of the average salary of an 18-21 year old who is working.
Students from the poorest 40% of families can expect to finish university with £57,000 of debt. That’s debt people can do without as adults when they have to cover basic living expenses; have families to care for.
This debt gets in the way of continued learning, too.
Does this mean people with student debt don’t deserve to learn the skills that could help them advance their careers?
What’s more, time commitments shift drastically as someone becomes an adult learner. They no longer have unlimited free time to dedicate to their studies. While it’s true many first-time university students work as well, they tend to work 20 hours or less per week and still live at home or on-campus.
For adult learners, work takes anywhere from 30 to 50 hours a week, and they also have families and personal lives to tend to. They can’t afford to quit working or work less, so they simply rule out ever getting more credentials.
The effects of COVID and the rising cost of living in the UK are two other major barriers to education. The current living crises has produced an increase of homeless students; a survey by the National Student Union of Scotland found that 12% of respondents had experienced homelessness since starting their degree programmes. Even more (31%) had relied on credit cards and payment plans, and a quarter were reliant on bank overdrafts to cover living expenses.
As the cost of living continues to rise, salaries and hourly wages remain relatively the same. This means people have less discretionary income to invest in themselves, including educational courses that could help them earn more in their careers.
We’ve identified core qualities of adult education that learners need to see the greatest outcomes.
A flexible schedule with self-paced lectures allow students to learn when it’s most convenient for them. Increased flexibility also increases motivation, participation, and positive learning outcomes.
Increasing flexibility is increasingly forming part of adult education businesses’ strategies. In Knoma’s Education Provider Survey June 2022, 42% of senior executives at adult education businesses said they were offering a wider range of formats, such as part-time courses or virtual courses in order to accommodate a wider range of people
Students should have a say in when they study and what they learn. The business ecosystem is increasingly complex – and that means there can be no one-choice-fits all in terms of the skills businesses need for their business, too. To cope with the challenges of a changing economy – and changing learner needs – 44% of senior executives at adult education businesses told us their business is diversifying the courses that they offer, with 36% expanding their business-to-business offering.
59% of British consumers are tightening their purse strings. Education belongs to everyone, and it shouldn’t be barred behind unfair loans or exorbitant tuition costs. Knoma is fighting for fairer finance for lifelong learners. We help some of the best schools and bootcamps from around the world reach a new audience of would-be career-changers and upskillers, and help them find and fund the course they need to get ahead.
We do this all without charging learners any interest, and without requiring them to pay more if they start earning.
It’s a simple, ethical 0% finance option, and we’re proud to say we put learners first. It’s great for business too. Why? Well, our partners are paid upfront, so no negative cashflow implications. We take on all the risk, too. Perhaps most importantly, because the option is so fair and transparent for learners, it gives you the best opportunity to boost enrolments.
Our goal is to make education for adult learners more accessible and affordable — for both upskillers and career changers ready to change their lives.
Knoma helps adult learners find courses then fund it with ethical 0% finance, taking the stress out of learning and making it as fun as it should be.