Reviewing our first full year – Part 1 – Beginnings and Europe

When we started on our journey in August 2020, we did not think that the business would survive. Covid-19 presented challenges but as we noticed, there were many opportunities as well. Throughout the year, there were ups and downs. There were more downs than ups but the support we received from students and partners, kept us on our focus, “Your Success is Our Aspiration“.

We started with coordinating the Para-Counselling (WSQ) course for our partner, Arium School of Arts and Sciences (ASAS). This course started off quite slowly but it has grown in popularity. To date, it is our most popular course. The course provides participants with knowledge and skillsets in Counselling to empower them to provide support and assistance to those who are experiencing mental stress and are in need of guidance and support. The provision provided through the use of SkillsFuture Credit, enable participants to attend the course without using any of their own cash! The Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy (MCES) provide 40 years old and above with funding support of up to 90% and from January 2022, up to 70% of the course fees. The balance can be paid using the SkillsFuture Credit.

ASAS runs diploma programs in Psychology and Criminology. Armed with an accreditation from the Association of Psychotherapists and Counsellors Singapore (APACS), the school support students’ through the Specialist Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Graduate Diploma programs. For students who completed the Advanced Diploma and Graduate Diploma programs, there was a demand for top-up degrees. We sought out partnerships with Universities in the United Kingdom with accredited programs in Psychology. Though we did not manage to form any viable partnerships, we signed our first recruitment contract with the University of Essex Online! This was a major milestone for us as were now able to offer online degree programs to adult learners looking to upgrade themselves. We continued on our mission to look for a University partner to support ASAS students’ aspirations.

We then looked at on-campus recruitment opportunities and started to look for partners in Europe. Why Europe you may ask? Because there so many good universities and many affordable options for students. These Universities also provide students with the opportunities, as part of Erasmus+ program, to travel to other countries in Europe to have a different learning and working experience.

Our first university partner, Vincent Pol University (VPU), Poland is an amazing private university located in Lublin, in the eastern part of Poland. Poland has been rising in the quality of higher education and there are many Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) setting up there; companies like Google, HP, and Amazon. Even though the levels and quality are rising in Poland, the tuition fees are still really low. Tuition fees in VPU starts from 2,100 euros (SGD$3,250) per year! A typical Bachelor’s degree takes 3 years to complete. With tuition fee of 2,100 euros per year, the total fees for the program is ONLY 6,300 euros (SGD$9,700)!

Our next European partnership was with the Universidad Católica San Antonio de Murcia (UCAM). Located in Murcia, south eastern coast of Spain, Murcia is looking at the Mediterranean Sea. UCAM is well known for its Psychology, Business and Administration, Sports Management and Sports Science programs and its involvement with professional football and basketball leagues in Spain. There are also Dental and Pharmacy programs which are affordable and students work in modern facilities. Tuition fees start from 7,100 euros (SGD$10,950) per year. The Dentistry program is 5 years and the annual tuition fees is 14,400 euros (SGD$22,250) while the Pharmacy program is also 5 years and the fees is ONLY 9,000 euros (SGD$13,900) per year!

The Budapest Metropolitan University (METU) in Hungary is a rare find with many courses that breed Creativity. You will not find any Engineering courses at METU! You will find Photography, Film and Media, Cinematography, Graphic Design, Animation and Media Design. METU also offer Business Administration, Media and Communication and Tourism and Catering programs! Tuition fees start from as low as 5,000 euros (SGD$7,700) per year.

If you would like to gain a UK honours degree or Master’s degree but would like to study in Europe, then look to the Domain Academy! Located in Malta (part of EU and in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea), Domain Academy has collaborations and partnerships with The University of Derby and Pearson to offer students pathways to the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in areas like Business Management, Hospitality and Tourism Management, Computer Science and IT at really affordable prices.

In Part 2, we will be sharing with you our newer UK and our US partners and our strategy for 2022. In the meantime, if you are looking to upgrade yourself and would like to have a chat on available options, please reach out to us by sending us an email at info@upgradeupskill.com. We will get back to you within 2 working days to arrange for a complimentary consultation session.

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