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How to Make a Successful Return to Education?

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Whether it’s been 5, 10, 20 years… or even longer (!) since you were last in education, our advice remains the same.

Here are our 11 top tips to ensure a successful return to education:

  1. Find (and keep!) your motivation – it’s important to have a clear idea of why you want to return to education. Are you looking for a better paid job? More stability? Better prospects for progression? With a clear goal in mind, you can remind yourself of exactly why you’re doing this if you do find it tough at times. We recommend writing your motivation on a post-it and sticking it in front of your study area – making sure it’s somewhere you’ll always see it in your moments of doubt.
  2. Look for courses offering support – our courses all have a designated course advisor who can help if it looks like someone is starting to struggle. They’re also there as a point of contact for any queries you might have about the course.
  3. Find a course that suits your pace – classroom based learning works on one pace, all class members are expected to work at that pace. Online learning offers you the opportunity to work at your own pace. You can go back and watch videos for a second on third time if necessary.
  4. Build a routine– this is possibly the most important thing, especially if when taking an online course. You have to build your education into your week, finding a suitable time and protecting it for study. An online course will allow you to do that at a time to suit you, working around you previous commitments rather than the timetable of a classroom. But still, pick a day and time to stick to – if you can establish a routine, you’re much more likely to be successful.
  5. Get organised – even with an online course, you should treat you study time as if you were in a classroom. Let others know that you’re unavailable, get rid of other distractions and get yourself set up in an area that works to complement your study style. If study from home, treat it like you’re not there – don’t answer the phone, or the door, or do your washing, treat it like you’re sat in a classroom.
  6. Experiment – everyone learns in different ways, there’s no one “best way” to study. Start with the things you know used to work when you studied previously. If they don’t suit you now, try other options until you find a style of studying that works for you. Most people begin by studying at home – if you find that you’re too distracted by that, try studying in a library or coffee shop.
  7. Take it one step at a time – take each task as it comes and only focus on that. If you start to think too far beyond that, things can quickly begin to feel overwhelming. Trust that you’ll have all the information you need, when you need it, and don’t become unnecessarily anxious about things like assignments.
  8. Take all the help you can get – if you’re struggling to find your study style or get into a routine with your course, there are some excellent resources online that can help guide you.
  9. If you’re struggling, ASK FOR HELP – if you start to feel at any point like you’re struggling with the course content or not keeping up with the demands of your programme, speak to your course advisor. People can’t offer you help and advice if they don’t know there’s something wrong. And don’t leave it too long, asking for help early means you’re more likely to stay on track.
  10. Remember that your course is just a means to an end – people take our courses to make a mid-career change into pharmaceutical manufacturing. While it’s important to pass your course and gain your certification, remember that a new job in a new industry is what you’re aiming for… not a piece of paper. (Be sure and check out our job hunt resource centre for a whole lot of help on how to find a job in pharma).
  11. Don’t panic – you’ve been working for a number of years and as a result, you are actually more ready for this that someone coming straight from school or university. You are bringing knowledge and experience that are vital to success in this process.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that, since our courses are aimed at people with significant work experience, almost all of our trainees are starting from the same place – having not studied for a LONG time.

The good news? Our courses have a 92% completion rate. So it definitely IS possible to have a successful return to education after several years away. And perhaps, an online course is exactly the right place to do it.

If you’re interested in making a career change into pharmaceutical manufacturing but you aren’t sure where to start, check out these tools:

Is a career in pharma for me?

What course should I take?