A TOP academic at a North Yorkshire college has moved to reassure students looking to move in to higher education as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Universities across the UK are assessing whether they can return to the classroom for the next academic year or if they have no choice but to continue online learning.

According to Stephen Mulligan, assistant director for higher education at Selby College, this uncertainty could leave students wondering whether they should pursue higher education at all.

Mr Mulligan said: “As we move into the third month of lockdown, now may be the time where people begin to consider a career change or upskilling themselves to increase their employability. In addition to their own personal and career progression, this will also help in reducing the skills gaps in professions such as nursing and engineering, as well as supplement a more highly skilled workforce to better position the UK in its recovery from the pandemic – and beyond.

“Many people may find themselves out of work, and this may be the perfect opportunity to consider going back into education.

“Many courses on offer are flexible in that you can study part-time alongside working.”

In light of the current situation, the University of Cambridge has announced it will carry out online-only teaching for the academic year 2020-2021 and many other universities could follow suit.

Mr Mulligan said that students may consider carrying out their studies closer to home or choosing to enrol on higher education courses at a college instead of opting to move away to go to university as in previous years.

He said: “I would like to reassure prospective students that all hope isn’t lost - at Selby College, we have a number of higher education programmes that can fit around your lifestyle or career aspirations.

“We will be enabling students to work online where possible but will also have the opportunity to work on-site safely taking into account all of the latest government guidelines on social distancing.”