There are a number of educational establishments (schools, colleges and universities) and private training providers where it is possible to complete the required qualifications. There are also a number of ways in which it is possible to complete the training, including:
Direct delivery courses are normally taught in an entirely face-to-face manner and will involve both theory and practical teaching and assessment. Many colleges and universities deliver their courses over a full academic year alongside their core academic programmes. This clearly delays the time it takes to get the knowledge, skills and qualification, and any subsequent access into employment. Most private training providers deliver their courses more intensively, often over a number of weeks or months. Shorter courses may be more affordable but run the risk of being ‘cheap and cheerful’, whereas longer courses will inflate the tuition costs and may prove difficult to attend because or work or family commitments. It’s important therefore to find the right balance.
Blended delivery courses normally involve a period of independently completed home study with a brief period of intensive training and assessment. Blended programmes offer a more affordable route to getting qualified because the provider can reduce their costs somewhat because there is less direct contact. These courses are also somewhat more flexible than direct delivery programmes making them easy to complete alongside a busy schedule. There are a number of reputable ‘blended’ training providers but there are also a few that don’t have the support services, resources and expertise to deliver training in this manner.
Online/home-study courses involve training and assessment that is exclusively delivered from home. Learning activities are normally completed online and then any final assessment would then be uploaded, or posted to the provider in video format for assessment by their staff. The core theme with most online courses appears to be minimum student contact and maximum automation, thereby maximising the provider’s profits.