Care Certificate: How to balance your studies with work

A photo of a woman in a striped shirt writing in a notepad while holding a cup of coffee

One key benefit of the new Level 2 Adult Social Care Certificate is that it can be completed alongside your day job, so there shouldn’t be any disruption to your employment or pay.

But balancing your studies and work might feel like a daunting task. And while, yes, pursuing this qualification will require excellent time management skills, with a bit of forward planning and a few strategic tips you can effectively juggle your work and learning responsibilities and be successful in both. 

In this concise guide, we share practical tips to help you manage your time efficiently as a student-worker.  

Prioritisation: Tackling the most important tasks first

It won’t come as much surprise, but prioritisation is key to balancing your studies with work:

1. Review FuturU’s Onboarding Module

When you enrol in FuturU’s qualification, you’ll get access to an onboarding module. This comprehensive guide explains how to navigate the FuturU app and make the most of your learning journey. From arranging assessments to applying for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), you’ll find information on all the steps you’ll need to take to complete the qualification here, making it a useful place to start when you’re thinking about how to plan and prioritise your studies.

2. Create a master list

Once you’re clear on what’s expected of you, document all your tasks, learning modules, and assessments.

3. Rank by importance and urgency

Identify any tasks with a deadline, and those which are most critical.

4. Focus on high-priority tasks

Tackle those tasks you’ve ranked as most important first to ensure nothing essential slips through the cracks.

A note on your FuturU mentor:

When you enrol in FuturU’s Level 2 Adult Social Care Certificate, you’ll be assigned a mentor. Your mentor will provide guidance, feedback, support and encouragement throughout your learning journey, helping you navigate the learning materials and understand key concepts. They can also assist you in setting realistic goals and an action plan to achieve them. 

Scheduling: Creating a plan

A well-organised schedule is crucial for maintaining balance:

1. Block out study time

Consider when you work best and treat your study sessions as non-negotiable commitments.

2. Use a planner

A digital or paper planner can be a useful tool to help you visualise your weekly schedule. 

3. Align with work shifts

Try your best to plan your study and assessment times around your work schedule – if you’re struggling to do this, speak to your manager to see if they can help.

4. Remember to take breaks

It’s important to schedule regular breaks and downtime into your plan too, to help prevent burnout.

Optimisation: Maximising your study time

Achieve more in less time by maximising the efficiency of your study sessions:

1. Create a dedicate learning space

Try to find a quiet, distraction-free area to study – with FuturU, you can learn anytime and anywhere, from a desktop, tablet or mobile device.

2. Use active learning techniques

Active methods of learning, like note-taking, summarising what you’ve learnt and reflecting on it, can really help enhance retention. FuturU’s story-led approach to learning, which uses narratives, characters and scenarios to convey information, is also proven to be more engaging, memorable and applicable to real-life situations.

Read more: Our story-led approach to the new Care Certificate qualification →

3. Find focus

Avoid multitasking while learning to improve concentration – it can also be helpful to log out of social media and pause notifications during study time. And if you do find yourself distracted by other websites or social media, it might be a sign it’s time for a break.

4. Learn to say ‘no’

If you find yourself being spread too thin, consider whether you have any non-essential commitments in your diary that you can remove. While it might feel frustrating to skip things right now, you’re doing yourself a big favour in the long run. 

Wellbeing: Practising self-care

Taking good care of your wellbeing is essential for maintaining productivity:

1. Prioritise sleep

Stick to a consistent sleep schedule to stay alert and focused – put your phone on silent and out of reach around an hour before bed, and avoid other light sources like televisions and tablets. You should aim for between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night.

Read more: How to get quality rest as a shift worker in healthcare →

2. Get moving

Regular exercise can help boost energy levels and reduce stress – a brisk 30 minute walk is all you need to release mood and energy -boosting endorphins!

Read more: Little by little: 8 Small habits to reduce your stress levels →

3. Celebrate your achievements

And we don’t just mean the big ones! Celebrate small wins, like completing a unit, to stay motivated and positive.

4. Ask for help

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach out to your employer or FuturU mentor, who can support you to find strategies to make things easier. 

Flexibility: Being adaptable

Flexibility is vital as you refine your time management skills and identify what works best for you: 

1. Review

Time management is an ongoing practice, so remember to regularly review and adjust your schedule to make it work for you.

2. Celebrate success

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – acknowledge the progress you’re making and celebrate every win. By undertaking this qualification, you’ve taken a huge step forward in your career, not only investing in yourself, but demonstrating your commitment to providing the very best standard of care to the people who put their trust in you to look after them. And you should feel really proud of yourself for that. 

By implementing these strategies, you can develop strong time management skills and excel as a student-worker. Prioritise effectively, minimise distractions, and don’t forget to take care of yourself along the way. Balancing your studies and work is achievable with the right approach and support, and success is well within your reach. You’ve got this!

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