Orkney College UHI free online care course means young mum can pursue her dream career

Living on an outer island and having a young baby were no barrier to Nicole Ross pursuing her dream of a career in care. For Nicole, 28, from Stronsay, was able to sign up to a free six-week Introduction to a Career in Social Care course thanks to an online learning option with Orkney College UHI.

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Nicole Ross

The completion date of Friday 29 April is fast approaching, and Nicole is encouraging others to sign up.


She said: “I signed up for the course as I have always been interested in getting a career in care and even though I was accepted in to college while I lived in Kirkwall, I found the classroom environment didn’t suit me and after just having Geordie in October 2021 it was the better option for me to be able to do the course at home, so when this online course came up I signed up for it straight away.


“I have really enjoyed the class, the thing I enjoyed the most was learning about new things that I was interested in and being able to do the work in my own time. I have gained a new understanding about care and invaluable knowledge about the social care system that I didn’t have before.”


Nicole is planning on applying for a job in Home Care and continuing to further her education by enrolling to complete an SVQ2 in social care.


What would she say to anyone considering a career in care?


“Absolutely go for it. The online course has been great, you can email your tutor with any questions you have no matter how silly you think they are and the tutor will get back to you asap. You can do the work in your own time and you don’t feel pressured at all. You get to speak to social care employers through Webex and hear all about the kinds of work they do within the community and at the end of the course you can get help to be put in contact with employers to find a job that is right for you.


“If you have thought about a career in care but the classroom environment isn’t for you then I would say this course definitely is the way to go, it really worked for me and I have thoroughly enjoyed doing it.”


The next six-week Introduction to a Career in Social Care course starts on Monday 9 May and there’s still time to sign up. Applications are available online via the Orkney College UHI website - SCQF Level 5 Introduction to a Career in Social Care - Certificate (uhi.ac.uk)


Derek Aiken is Curriculum Leader, Health, Social Care & Education at Orkney College UHI. He said: “This course is ideal for people 16 and over who are interested in working in Social Care. For example, senior phase pupils, people who are unemployed, under threat of unemployment or considering a change in career.


“A remarkable 14 students started the first course offering on the 7 March and it’s great to hear the feedback from Nicole and how she plans to progress moving forward.”

The part-time (10 hours per week), free course is supported by a tutor online and ideal for those who enjoy working with people, are compassionate, have a sense of fun and are seeking a new rewarding career helping others live their lives to the full.

Derek added: “Participants will be able to work through the online learning materials at their own pace, extending their learning through videos and links to further information. A college tutor will be available to provide support and encouragement to ensure participant engagement with all the topics, and to monitor progress.

“At the end of the course your online tutor will help you to decide what to do next, either into employment, or further courses. You will be awarded a Certificate which will help support you with your next steps. Career opportunities in social care are many and varied, with a variety of services meeting the needs of children, young people and adults of all ages who need support. This could include settings such as care homes, care at home, day services, independent living and housing support services.

“There are no entry requirements other than a genuine interest in caring for others, a willingness to learn, and a positive attitude.”