Furthering education in the insurance industry, Kaplan Open Learning, the London-based online higher education college, will begin offering wholly online foundation and BA (Hons) degrees in financial services in September 2009. Kaplan Open Learning was launched in 2007 by global education and training company Kaplan and the University of Essex.

The course is aimed at practitioners in financial services who may already be qualified, but are seeking to gain a higher education degree to advance in their careers. Advisers in areas such as risk, mortgages, insurance compliance and investment are the expected participants.

The online degree format is designed to offer greater flexibility than traditional full-time and part-time degrees, which require attendance on a campus, so students can pursue a degree without disrupting their work or family life.

The online degree course will offer multiple start dates throughout the year with a continuous 52-week academic calendar, and will allow students to study wherever they have access to the Internet. Scheduled online classes connect staff and students through both live audio and chat rooms to encourage active discussion and interactive learning in real time. Students can contact their own dedicated academic adviser and tutors outside regular class hours.

The University of Essex will award the Foundation degree. A third-year, top-up course can be taken that will lead to the award of a BA (Hons) in Financial Services by the University.

"With greater regulation and compliance coming into force in Financial Services, opportunities for advisers and other practitioners are set to expand,” says Alan Jenkins, managing director of Kaplan Open Learning. “The Kaplan Open Learning Financial Services degree course has been designed to complement pre-existing qualifications and will give those already working in the sector a deeper understanding of the field as well as an advantage in advancing their careers."

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