Back to school for contractors and freelancers

Back to School

The kids are now well and truly back to school and most contractors and freelancers can breathe a collective sigh of relief at no longer having to remove Lego from their laptop every morning. But have you thought about going back to school yourself?

Not in the literal sense, of course – we’re not suggesting you head back to Mr Jones’s Year 11 maths class to refresh yourself on sine and cosine. Rather, have you thought about continuing your education and expanding your range of skills to improve your prospects as a contractor?

You may want to improve your knowledge of Excel, better your digital photography skills or even learn basic bookkeeping so you can manage your accounts more efficiently. You might even fancy starting that Masters or PhD to really make yourself an expert in your field. Whatever you want to do, there’s lots of choice out there.

If you haven’t, now is the ideal time to start thinking about it. One of the first things you need to consider (besides what you want to study) is what type of learning suits you best. Here, we weigh up the pros and cons of the two main options.

On-site learning

On-site learning would be considered anything where you have to physically attend classes on a regular basis. Generally, these types of courses would be held at local colleges or universities and would include continuing education courses, diplomas, Bachelor’s degrees, MAs, PhDs and so on.

The benefits of these types of courses are many. As well as learning something new and achieving a qualification, you get to meet new people and take advantage of the institution’s resources such as libraries, e-libraries, computer labs, etc.

However, this type of course can have high fees attached (although financial aid is often available) and you would have to wait until next year now to start, whether that’s September for longer courses, or earlier in the year for shorter continuing education courses. That said, doing so does give you time to plan what you want to do and research properly before applying.

Remote learning

Remote learning covers any type of learning you do from home (or anywhere else for that matter) and can usually be done in your own time. It covers institutions such as the Open University, as well as professional development sites such as Lynda.com and Pluralsight.

This type of learning has many benefits as it’s flexible and can be done in your own time. It’s also often more affordable than attending a physical establishment. Remote learning is ideal for those who simply can’t commit to being in a classroom every week. With professional development sites, courses tend to be shorter too, so they’re easy to pick up and put down depending on your availability.

That said, one issue with remote learning is that it requires a great deal of self-motivation, so you need to be sure it’s something you can commit to. You can also lack the support of working with other learners which can be a problem for some.

Whichever suits you best, you can vastly improve your self-employment prospects by expanding your knowledge and qualifications. At Kingsbridge, we’ll give you the peace of mind you get knowing that you’re covered as a contractor, so you can continue working and learning without worry.

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