The number of women enrolling for online courses increased by around 200 percent between March and October 2020 according to the social learning platform FutureLearn and the professional women’s network AllBright.
AllBright research suggests that over 60 percent of women are planning a complete career change, with around 25 percent of them looking to set up their own businesses. Women, particularly those in the 18-25-year-old group, have been particularly hard hit by redundancies during the pandemic and with many of them having to stay at home while schools were closed, online courses have provided an opportunity to re-skill.
So, FutureLearn and AllBright have collaborated to develop a four-week Lockdown LifeSaver package, a career coaching course providing women with the tools to change their career directions. The idea combines FutureLearn’s long-established expertise in large-scale, on-demand digital learning, as employed by the Open University, with the AllBright Digital offering, which was launched during the first lockdown.
Debbie Wosskow, co-founder of AllBright, said, ‘This year has been challenging for everyone – but the crisis has affected women disproportionately – from redundancies to the mental strain of working from home while managing household responsibilities.’
Susannah Belcher, Chief Operations Officer at FutureLearn, added, ‘We’ve seen a big increase in sign-ups from 18-25-year olds, which correlates with research from the London School of Economics, and other analysts, that twice the number of people aged 25 and below have been made redundant compared with older workers. Our mission at FutureLearn is to transform access to education and give people the tools they need to build their own future, we’re proud to be a valued resource for those most affected.’
Despite the difficulties the pandemic has placed upon women, AllBright’s data shows an optimistic view among women, who are enthusiastic about developing new skills and professional networks.
‘The crisis has acted as a catalyst for women to take control of their lives and pivot careers,’ says Wosskow. ‘Partnering with FutureLearn complements the work we’re already doing at AllBright and supports our vision of connecting like-minded women to succeed in their professional life.’