2019’s top ten distance learning courses revealed

Home > 2019’s top ten distance learning courses revealed

03 February 2020

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In 2019 we helped people in prison start just over 1,700 courses across 200 different subjects and levels, from GCSEs and vocational studies to the start of degrees. Read on to discover last year’s movers and shakers as we reveal the ten most popular courses of 2019.

Find all our courses here

1. Open University People, Work & Society Access module (2018: 1st)

137 students (2018: 120)

In total, we funded 281 students to start an Open University Access Module in 2019, giving them the chance to try out degree-level study. With three different modules on offer, the People, Work and Society module again proved most popular, with 17 more students taking the module than in 2018.

2. Open University Science, Technology and Maths Access module (2018: 2nd)

113 students (2018: 115)

The Open University’s Science, Technology and Maths Access module was our second most popular course last year. The module introduces students to design, engineering and computing, as well as looking at how humans interact with the environment and how water has shaped our planet.

Planning to start a degree in Business Management, Diane, 35, began the Access module last year. She told us she wants to “set down some new foundations” and “move on” with her life, and believes that studying will “open new doors to a new career”.

3. Business Start-Up (2018: 5th)Planning a business

54 students (2018: 54)

Moving up two places, NEC’s Business Start-Up course takes the third spot in 2019’s list. The course is designed to guide students through the process of setting up a business – from creating a business plan, to choosing premises and developing strategies.

4. Gym Instructing – Passport to Level 2 Certificate (2018: 3rd)

52 students (2018: 66)

Dropping down a single place, HFE’s Gym Instructing course still proved hugely popular among PET students. The first step towards becoming a personal trainer, the course covers all the bases of working in the industry, with units exploring lifestyle management, anatomy and physiology, and providing a positive customer experience.

5. Creative Writing (2018: 11th)

46 students (2018: 33)

A new entry in this year’s top ten, up six places from 2018, just under 50 students started our two Creative Writing courses in 2019. The Writers Bureau’s course explores style, presentation, copyright, and how to sell your writing. NEC’s course meanwhile looks at writing in different styles, from poetry to playwriting, as well as giving students a go at writing non-fiction.

6. Plumbing Installation Level 2 Theory (2018: 6th)

43 students (2018: 45)

Holding onto sixth place, Learn Plumbing’s Plumbing Installation Theory course lays the groundwork for progressing to the NVQ Level 2 in Plumbing. Ben, a father of three, was funded for the course last June. After prison he plans to start a business of his own, fitting bathrooms and kitchens. He wrote to us about his career plans: “I have a good feeling where my career is heading and I am looking forward to the journey getting there. I am going to work my socks off making sure I get there and achieve my goals.”

7. Understanding Substance Misuse Level 3 Certificate (2018: 76th)

41 students (2018: 6)

Another new entry on the list, NCC Home Learning’s Certificate in Understanding Substance Misuse moves up an impressive 70 places. This course helps students develop their understanding of issues around and possible responses to substance misuse, including a unit that shines a light on alcohol and drug use amongst young people.

8. Nutrition for Physical Activity – Level 3 (2018: 7th)

38 students (2018: 41)

The sports nutrition sector is booming and PET’s students are making the most of the opportunity to get involved. Coming in at eighth in our top ten, HFE’s course outlines for students the key nutritional principles to support their clients’ goals. Units include healthy eating guidelines, weight management, and how to design a nutrition programme.

10= Construction Technologies Theory – Level 3 (2018: 12th)

34 students (2018: 30)

Climbing one place, Study House’s construction course makes its way into 2019’s top ten. Ella, in her 20s, was funded to take the course thanks to the money raised during our Big Give Christmas Challenge. She explained to us why she settled on construction: “I need a career on the outside that’ll keep me on my feet… I know I’m a very hands-on person and that’s where I’m most successful.” In her application, she encapsulates the power of studying inside: “There is nothing better than knowing you’re getting through your sentence gaining qualifications to improve your future.”

10= NEBOSH Level 2 Health and Safety at Work Award (2018: 83rd)Man doing health and safety checks

34 students (2018: 5)

ATM Safety’s course is the final new entry in our top ten, flying up the list from 84th place – this year’s highest climber. Providing core health and safety knowledge, the qualification is in great demand across a range of industries.

2019’s unique courses

But what about the other end of the list – the courses we funded just once in 2019? Here are just five of the unique courses that we would love to fund more of next year!

1. A-Level Politics (NEC)

Referendums, elections, nationalism, socialism… students can gain a deeper understanding of today’s hot political issues with this internationally recognised qualification.

2. Deaf Awareness and Sign Language (BSY)

This course helps students consider attitudes to deafness, gain an understanding of the challenges it brings, and find out how they can help people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Zumba class3. Exercise to Music (HFE)

An exciting entry-level route to teaching freestyle group exercise or pre-choreographed international sensations like Les Mills, Insanity and Zumba.

4. NEBOSH Level 3 Certificate in Environmental Management (Stonebridge)

With a NEBOSH Environmental Certificate, you can help your employer demonstrate environmental excellence and social responsibility.

5. Pig Husbandry (ACS Distance Education)

Learn everything there is to know about raising and keeping pigs – on a small or large scale.

Find out more about all the courses PET offers here – including course descriptions, entry requirements, and what sort of tutor support is available.

Student names have been changed.

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