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 Why do it? To prepare you for studying a university. Courses are designed for specific subject areas. You will need to check that this qualification will get you onto the degree you want to study.
 How much does it cost? The amount of fees charged varies for each course. You will need to contact the providing institution to find out what they charge.
 How long does it take? Usually up to one year for a course involving 16 hours a week.
 Is funding available? 24+ Advanced Learning Loan are for eligible full and part-time students on Access to University Courses.
 Who is this appropriate for? People who want to go into Higher Education who do not have the qualifications which are usually required for HE entry, such as A levels.
 Benefits Specifically prepares you for study in Higher Education. Available in a range of different subjects to cater for different interests and careers.

  Application Type Required:

Application to Access to HE

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

A chance to return to education to learn for pleasure, to gain skills for the workplace or for hobbies and pastimes, and to meet like-minded people. Some courses lead to nationally recognised qualifications, and most courses offer progression routes onto other qualifications.

 How much does it cost?

Each provider will have a standard fee structure. The charges are likely to depend on whether you choose day-time or evening classes, and could range from around £150-£300 per term.

 How long does it take?

Courses tend to be run over terms and could be up to a year.

 Is funding available?

Some low income groups may be able to benefit from a reduction in fees (check with the provider).

 Who is this appropriate for?

People who want to study flexible at a time to suit them (including if you need to continue with a full-time job while you study). There are usually no formal requirements, apart from an interest in the subject.

 Benefits

Courses are designed specifically to meet the needs of adults. There is a wide range of options available and you can use these courses as a springboard for further learning.

  Application Type Required:

Application for adult and community learning

  External Links to Further Information:

Do an internet search to find adult education providers in your area, or consult an online database of courses such as:

UCAS

 Why do it?

A chance to return to education to learn for pleasure, to gain skills for the workplace or for hobbies and pastimes, and to meet like-minded people. Some courses lead to nationally recognised qualifications, and most courses offer progression routes onto other qualifications.

 How much does it cost?

Most providers have a standard fee structure. For a typical short course you would pay from £50-£150 for courses run over 4-8 weeks.

 How long does it take?

Short courses are around 4-8 weeks. Longer adult education courses allow you to study over 1-2 years.

 Is funding available?

Some low income groups may be able to benefit from a reduction in fees (check with the provider).

 Who is this appropriate for?

People who want to study flexibly at a time to suit them (including if you need to continue with a full-time job while you study). There are usually no formal requirements, apart from an interest in the subject.

 Benefits

Courses are designed specifically to meet the needs of adults. There is a wide range of options available and you can use these courses as a springboard for further learning.

  Application Type Required:

Application for adult and community learning

  External Links to Further Information:

Do an internet search to find adult education providers in your area, or consult an online database of courses such as:

UCAS or Adult Education Finder

 Why do it?

Learning with the WEA allows you to be part of student-centred and tutor-led education in your local area at community venues. A wide range of courses are available from maths, English and skills for employment, through health and wellbeing courses, to cultural studies that help students broaden their horizons and community engagement programmes that encourage active citizenship.

 How much does it cost?

There is a fee for most courses, which will depend on the specific course. Typically courses running over 10 weeks will be around £60.

 How long does it take?

A wide range of options are offered, from a few days/weeks to longer courses over a few terms.

 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for?

Anyone who wants to learn in an informal group within your local community.

 Benefits

You will get support and encouragement to actively engage in learning which can be life-enhancing and life-changing – improving health, self-confidence and creating positive changes for you and your local community.

  Application Type Required:

Application for WEA

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

Allows you to earn while you learn. Lead to nationally recognised qualifications (usually combining an National Vocational Qualification (NVQ); Key Skills qualifications; a technical qualification (such as a BTEC or City & Guilds); plus other qualifications by the occupation. Apprentices have better long term salary prospects. There are many progression options including to higher levels of education.

 How much does it cost?

Fully funded - the cost of the fees are shared between government and your employer.

 How long does it take?

Varies depending on the sector, qualification and your existing skills (generally between one and four years).

 Is funding available?

Jobcentre Plus provide assistance for the unemployed, towards travel costs to interviews and for the first three months of their apprenticeship. Contact your local Jobcentre for more information. In some local authority areas you may be entitled to a travel discount, check with your local authority or Apprenticeship Hub to see if there are any schemes available in your local area. Apprentices are entitled to an NUS Card through the National Union of Students. For just £11 you are entitled to discounts at many of your favourite high street and online retailers. Visit apprenticeextra.co.uk for more details.

 Who is this appropriate for?

Open to all those over 16 years-old regardless of work status (more adults are now undertaking Apprenticeships).

 Benefits

Provide a mix of qualifications and on the job experience. Available across a wide range of industries. Designed to develop the skills employers want and open up your career choices; Completing an Apprenticeship can enable you to progress into Foundation Degree or other higher level qualifications. In some sectors you can progress to a Higher Apprenticeship which provides a degree level qualification.

  Application Type Required:

Application for Apprenticeship

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

To gain a high-level general educational qualification which can be used to develop your career or for entry to higher education and professional training.

 How much does it cost?

Costs vary by provider and charges are generally over £300. There may also be a registration fee of around £50.

 How long does it take?

Usually one year for full-time (unless studying more than one AS/A level).

 Is funding available?

24+ Advanced Learning Loan are available for eligible full and part-time students at Level 3. if you are unemployed and in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance and this is your first attempt at this level of qualification then you may be eligible for your fees to be paid.

 Who is this appropriate for?

People who are missing some specific subject knowledge for a higher education course could consider taking an A level as preparation for higher education.

 Benefits

Available in a wide range of academic subjects, and some 'applied' (work-related) subjects. Are one of the main routes into higher education. Help you to get a job.

  Application Type Required:

Application to GCSE and A level

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

To study a subject you enjoy to a high level that will help you reach your goals for your career or to progress in academic learning.

 How much does it cost?

Higher Education Providers set fees for their courses. In England providers can charge up to £9,000 per course year

 How long does it take?

3-4 years.

 Is funding available?

Tuition fee loans are available to cover the course costs (you don’t have to pay it back until after your course, when you’re earning above a certain level). You can also apply for a maintenance loans (how much you get depends on your household income, where you study, where you live and how long for). Universities also have their own scholarship and bursary schemes to provide support to students meeting certain criteria.

 Who is this appropriate for?

Higher education is open to a wide range of people, an increasing number of adults are taking degrees as mature students from every type of background. If you don’t meet the entry criteria for courses based on previous qualifications, you can often enter through an alternative entry route which takes account of any work experience.

 Benefits

Taking a degree will boost your long term earning potential. It gives you the chance to explore a subject you find interesting or rewarding and increase your skills and knowledge. It can be particular beneficial if you are looking to change direction or take on a new challenge.

  Application Type Required:

Application for full-time degree in higher education

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

To study a subject you enjoy to a high level that will help you reach your goals for your career or to progress in academic learning. To study in a flexible way that suits your lifestyle.

 How much does it cost?

Higher Education Providers set fees for their courses. Part-time and distance learning degrees are usually cheaper than full-time courses.

 How long does it take?

Depends on course and method of study.

 Is funding available?

Tuition fee loans are available to cover the course costs (you don’t have to pay it back until after your course, when you’re earning above a certain level). You can also apply for a maintenance loans (how much you get depends on your household income, where you study, where you live and how long for). Universities also have their own scholarship and bursary schemes to provide support to students meeting certain criteria.

 Who is this appropriate for?

Higher education is open to a wide range of people, an increasing number of adults are taking degrees as mature students from every type of background. If you don’t meet the entry criteria for courses based on previous qualifications, you can often enter through an alternative entry route which takes account of any work experience.

 Benefits

Taking a degree in a way that suits your lifestyle and will boost your long term earning potential. It gives you the chance to explore a subject you find interesting or rewarding and increase your skills and knowledge. It can be particular beneficial if you are looking to change direction or take on a new challenge. Cheaper than studying full-time.

  Application Type Required:

Application for part-time and distance learning degrees in higher education

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

To get recognition for online informal learning, whilst building your confidence and motivation for learning.

 How much does it cost?

Free

 How long does it take?

You can take the time you need to complete and there is an activity log on your account which will help you track your progress.

 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for?

Informal learners who are seeking access to study skills and to have their learning recognised.

 Benefits

Perpetual, enabling you to return at any time to refresh your knowledge (unlike other online courses which have a start and finish date). You will be able to display your completed badges publicly or privately using My OpenLearn profile.

  Application Type Required:

Application for Open Educational Resources

  External Links to Further Information:

Visit OpenLearn to find out more about Badged Open Courses (BOCS)

OpenLearn

 Why do it? Allows you to develop your knowledge and understanding by applying your learning and skills in a work-related context. Will get a qualification equivalent to higher education level.
 How much does it cost? The amount of fees charged varies for each course. You will need to contact the providing institution to find out what they charge.
 How long does it take? Depends on study mode, usually 1 year full time.
 Is funding available? 24+ Advanced Learning Loans are offered. Some courses can be taken as part of an Apprenticeship and are fully funded.
 Who is this appropriate for? People who want to progress their career through higher level technical study, or follow an apprenticeship route. There is an emphasis on gaining the specific area of knowledge, skills and understanding required by your industry sector.
 Benefits Provide specialist vocational learning which meets the needs of professional organisations and the National Occupational Standards for each sector or industry. Available in over 40 subjects. Offer you a cost-effective, vocational pathway to higher education.

  Application Type Required:

Application for NVQ

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

Shorter than a degree, but the teaching is at the same level. Usually you can attend lectures and take the same exams as degree students.

 How much does it cost?

Higher Education Providers set fees for their courses. In England providers can charge up to £9,000 per course year

 How long does it take?

One year.

 Is funding available?

Tuition fee loans are available to cover the course costs (you don’t have to pay it back until after your course, when you’re earning above a certain level). You can also apply for a maintenance loans (how much you get depends on your household income, where you study, where you live and how long for). Universities also have their own scholarship and bursary schemes to provide support to students meeting certain criteria.

 Who is this appropriate for?

People who want to study at HE level without commiting to a three year degree.

 Benefits

Gives you a recognised qualifications that you can put on your CV. Shows prospective employers you have studied at HE level. You can go into the second year of a full degree if decide you want to graduate after all.

  Application Type Required:

Inquire about courses offered by higher education providers.

  External Links to Further Information:

UCAS course finder, or university websites or prospectuses.

 Why do it?

To get a new skill; reconnect with learning; follow an interest; prepare to progress to formal courses or other reasons such as learning how to support your children better.

 How much does it cost?

There are many free courses available. Other courses incur a charge which will depend on the length of the course, ranging fro a few pounds to a few hundred pounds.

 How long does it take?

Varies by course from a few weeks upwards.

 Is funding available?

If your course is not free, you may qualify for free place if you are on an income-based benefit the dependent of someone who is. Other groups low income groups may also qualify such as people with refugee status or official Leave to Remain or Humanitarian Protection, and asylum seekers. You should ask the provider directly for details of the financial support available and how to apply.

 Who is this appropriate for?

Community learning is designed to help people of different ages and backgrounds to improve their skills, gain confidence and meet new people. Courses leading to qualifications can also help you to progress in work.

 Benefits

Community learning includes a range of community-based and outreach learning opportunities so there are usually lots of options available. .

  Application Type Required:

Application for adult and community learning

  External Links to Further Information:

Do an internet search to find your local providers, or consult

Workers' Educational Association (WEA)

 Why do it?

To develop skills and knowledge in a specific subject area to a high level.

 How much does it cost?

Most courses incur fees which can vary according to the length of the programme.

 How long does it take?

Ranges from summer schools, short courses to intensive programmes.

 Is funding available?

Part-time students can apply for a student loan. Some institutions have a small number of bursaries to people who fulfil their conditions.

 Who is this appropriate for?

People who want an experience of university level learning.

 Benefits

To have an experience of higher education. Some courses are award-bearing, or could lead to a HE qualification such as an Undergraduate Certificate or Diploma.

  Application Type Required:

Application for continuing education in HE

  External Links to Further Information:

Search higher education provider websites for their 'adult and continuing education' offer. Often this is within a specific centre in a university.

 Why do it? To help you get more out of your current job, or to get a new job or career.
 How much does it cost? Varies depending on the provider and course. Your employer may contribute or pay for you to undertake CPD.
 How long does it take? Substantive CPD takes around 3 months to 1 year.
 Is funding available? You may be able to get support from your employer.
 Who is this appropriate for? People who are in work and who want to develop their skills to do their current job better, or get a promotion or new job.
 Benefits The opportunity to learn something new which will be relevant to your job and career whilst at work.

  Application Type Required:

Application for learning at work

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it? To help you get more out of your current job, or to get a new job or career.
 How much does it cost? Varies depending on the provider and course. Your employer may contribute or pay for you to undertake CPD.
 How long does it take? Substantive CPD takes around 3 months to 1 year.
 Is funding available? You may be able to get support from your employer.
 Who is this appropriate for? People who are in work and who want to develop their skills to do their current job better, or get a promotion or new job.
 Benefits The opportunity to learn something new which will be relevant to your job and career whilst at work.

  Application Type Required:

Application for learning at work

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it? To help you get more out of your current job, or to get a new job or career.
 How much does it cost? Varies depending on the provider and course. Your employer may contribute or pay for you to undertake CPD.
 How long does it take? Substantive CPD takes around 3 months to 1 year.
 Is funding available? You may be able to get support from your employer.
 Who is this appropriate for? People who are in work and who want to develop their skills to do their current job better, or get a promotion or new job.
 Benefits The opportunity to learn something new which will be relevant to your job and career whilst at work.

  Application Type Required:

Application for learning at work

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

Apprentices have better long term salary prospects. A Degree Apprenticeship allows apprentices to achieve a full bachelor's or master's degree as part of their apprenticeship

 How much does it cost?

Fully funded - the cost of the fees are shared between government and your employer.

 How long does it take?

Depends on the sector.

 Is funding available?

Jobcentre Plus provide assistance for the unemployed, towards travel costs to interviews and for the first three months of their apprenticeship. Contact your local Jobcentre for more information. In some local authority areas you may be entitled to a travel discount, check with your local authority or Apprenticeship Hub to see if there are any schemes available in your local area. Apprentices are entitled to an NUS Card through the National Union of Students. For just £11 you are entitled to discounts at many of your favourite high street and online retailers. Visit apprenticeextra.co.uk for more details.

 Who is this appropriate for?

People who want to work and study to Higher Education level.

 Benefits

The apprenticeship is typically split between college or university and the workplace. You remain employed throughout and can use your work activities in your assignments. University and college tutors still support you. Your study load is lighter as you're learning 'on the job', and you can earn a salary. A Degree Apprenticeships will give you the high level technical skills needed for the jobs of the future.

  Application Type Required:

Application for Apprenticeship

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

Shorter than a degree, but the teaching is at the same level. Usually you can attend lectures and take the same exams as degree students.

 How much does it cost?

Higher Education Providers set fees for their courses. In England providers can charge up to £9,000 per course year

 How long does it take?

Two years if taken full-time. 3-4 years for part-time and distance learning Diplomas.

 Is funding available?

Tuition fee loans are available to cover the course costs (you don’t have to pay it back until after your course, when you’re earning above a certain level). You can also apply for a maintenance loans (how much you get depends on your household income, where you study, where you live and how long for). Universities also have their own scholarship and bursary schemes to provide support to students meeting certain criteria.

 Who is this appropriate for?

People who want to study at HE level, and gain qualifications for a profession, without commiting to a three year degree.

 Benefits

Gives you a recognised qualifications that you can put on your CV. Some DipHE courses may also qualify you for some professions (eg. a DipHE in nursing means you can work as a nurse). You may be able to stay on for the full degree course or skip the first two years of a degree course in a related area if you have a DipHE and decide you want to graduate after all.

  Application Type Required:

Inquire about courses offered by higher education providers.

  External Links to Further Information:

UCAS course finder, or university websites or prospectuses.

 Why do it?

To do a self-study course which will help you develop your skills. Many distance learning courses are designed to help you to progress in your career or make an impact at work.

 How much does it cost?

Varies by level of course, ranging from around £300 up to several thousand for courses at higher levels.

 How long does it take?

Designed to be flexible to suit your time constraints.

 Is funding available?

Financial support is available for some certified courses with some providers.

 Who is this appropriate for?

People who want flexibility in organising their learning at a time and rate to suit them, and who are self-motivated or independent.

 Benefits

Gives you the flexibility to learn independently at your own pace, whilst giving you access to help and support. A wide range of short or longer courses are available and there is something out there for whatever new skills you want to learn.

  Application Type Required:

Application for distance learning courses

 Why do it?

To get a degree which will help you progress in your career.

 How much does it cost?

Fees will vary from institution to institution but costs are likely to be lower than for full-time face-to-face courses.

 How long does it take?

Usually you can set you own pace.

 Is funding available?

Student financial support applies. The Open University offers financial assistance for some groups of eligible students.

 Who is this appropriate for?

People who want flexibility in organising their learning at a time and rate to suit them, and who are self-motivated or independent.

 Benefits

The main advantage is you fit your learning around your work and home life. Also, it doesn't matter where you live – you can gain a degree from anywhere. The cost is usually less than a full-time degree. You will usually be offered dedicated support and opportunities to interact with other students.

  Application Type Required:

Application for part-time and distance learning degrees

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

To get involved in a child’s education and help to raise attainment levels.

 How much does it cost?

Free

 How long does it take?

Activities are online and it's up to you how long you spend.

 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for?

Parents and extended family who can’t attend a Family Learning session who want to find out how they can support a child's education and learn at the same time.

 Benefits

Gives families the opportunity to learn together. Delivered in a wide range of community venues. Childcare can be funded.

  Application Type Required:

Application for Family Learning

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

To discover new skills in a supportive and friendly environment. To get involved in a child’s education and help to raise attainment levels.

 How much does it cost?

Free (funded by the Skills Funding Agency)

 How long does it take?

Typically short sessions can be a few hours. Other courses usually range from 10 to 60 hours over 5-10 weeks.

 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for?

For people with school age children who want to learn as a family unit. Family learning is targeted in priority wards and for priority groups and aims to recruit the less confident learners (below level 2). The term ‘family’ includes all members of the extended family including parents, careers, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles.

 Benefits

Gives families the opportunity to learn together. Delivered in a wide range of community venues. Childcare can be funded. Accessible to a wide age range. Builds confidence in learning.

  Application Type Required:

Application for Family Learning

  External Links to Further Information:

Make an internet search for Family Learning in your area

 Why do it? Enables you to develop your skills that will open doors to further study and career development. You can choose from modules in any subjects you like, depending on your interests and career aspirations. Includes work-related modules to help you in your current role and enhance your future employability.
 How much does it cost? The amount of fees charged varies for each course. You will need to contact the providing institution to find out what they charge.
 How long does it take? You study at your own pace and can take as long as you need up to a maximum of 12 years to complete. Most people studying part-time would aim to complete in 4 years.
 Is funding available? Foundation degree students are entitled to student financial support. This support is usually means tested and will vary. Some employers offer financial support for employees studying foundation degrees as a work-based learning option.
 Who is this appropriate for? People who want to get an understanding of a subject in an employment context, and to develop critical and reflective awareness of their professional practice. Also good for those who want a foundation for further study.
 Benefits Flexible - study at any time and track your progress; Online forums allow you to speak to and discuss the topics with other learners.

  Application Type Required:

Application for part-time and distance learning degrees in higher education

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

To study a work-related subject (typically, you will learn at work as well as in taught classes), and to benefit from learning in the workplace as well as at university or college. There are many employment and further training or higher education options to follow after a Foundation Degree.

 How much does it cost?

The amount of fees charged varies for each course. You ill need to contact the providing institution to find out what they charge.

 How long does it take?

Two years if taken full-time

 Is funding available?

Foundation degree students are entitled to student financial support. This support is usually means tested and will vary. Some employers offer financial support for employees studying foundation degrees as a work-based learning option.

 Who is this appropriate for?

People who want to focus on a specific work area or career. There are no set entry requirements for foundation degrees. Having previous qualifications is often less relevant than commercial/industrial work experience.

 Benefits

Combine academic study with work-based learning. Tuition fees for Foundation degrees are often less than the fees for an Honours degree. Foundation degrees help you to progress in your career by equipping you with a combination of technical skills, academic knowledge and the other skills that employers need (such as communication and team working skills). Class sizes are often smaller, and with more one-to-one contact with tutors than Honours degrees. Once you’ve got a Foundation Degree you can ‘top up’ your qualification to an honours degree. This usually involves an extra year studying full-time (or the part-time equivalent).

  Application Type Required:

Application for full-time Foundation Degree

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

To study a work-related subject (typically, you will learn at work as well as in taught classes), and to benefit from learning in the workplace as well as at university or college. There are many employment and further training or higher education options to follow after a Foundation Degree.

 How much does it cost?

The amount of fees charged varies for each course. You ill need to contact the providing institution to find out what they charge.

 How long does it take?

Typically 3 years if taken part-time

 Is funding available?

Foundation degree students are entitled to student financial support. This support is usually means tested and will vary. Some employers offer financial support for employees studying foundation degrees as a work-based learning option.

 Who is this appropriate for?

People who want to focus on a specific work area or career. There are no set entry requirements for foundation degrees. Having previous qualifications is often less relevant than commercial/industrial work experience.

 Benefits

Combine academic study with work-based learning. Tuition fees for Foundation degrees are often less than the fees for an Honours degree. Foundation degrees help you to progress in your career by equipping you with a combination of technical skills, academic knowledge and the other skills that employers need (such as communication and team working skills). Class sizes are often smaller, and with more one-to-one contact with tutors than Honours degrees. Once you

  Application Type Required:

Application for part-time and distance learning degrees in higher education

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

To prepare for university, increase your knowledge, and to improve confidence and study skills (for example writing essays and doing references and citations). Foundation Years tend to have a good success rate. They can help you decide which Degree you want to do.

 How much does it cost?

Some cost the same as an undergraduate degree course; others cost less.

 How long does it take?

1 year of full-time study

 Is funding available?

You will be entitled to a Student Loan covering tuition fees.

 Who is this appropriate for?

People who don’t have the qualifications needed for entry onto a degree programme. Could also be useful for people coming back to education after a break.

 Benefits

Once you have passed the Foundation Year you progress directly onto Year 1 of the linked honours degree. If you are a full-time UK student, you will qualify for student financial support for the full duration of your course. Some foundation years are cheaper than undergraduate degrees.

  Application Type Required:

Application for a Foundation Year

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

Widely available and provided in different formats (evening or day classes, or in your own time, with the support of a tutor). GCSEs can lead to further study or an Apprenticeship.

 How much does it cost?

Depends on the provider and mode of study. A typical course costs around £500.

 How long does it take?

Usually one year to complete 1-2 GCSEs.

 Is funding available?

Some Maths and English GCSE qualifications are free to study if you don’t have a previous qualification.

 Who is this appropriate for?

People with no/low qualifications who want to get a widely recognised general qualification. You do not need to have studied the subject before.

 Benefits

GCSEs are the most widely taken qualification in the UK and considered the educational standard. They help you to get into college or university, and are needed for a large number of jobs. Are available in a wide variety of subjects (including some subjects which are closely linked with work, e.g. business studies).

  Application Type Required:

Application to GCSE and A level

  External Links to Further Information:

Make an online search for your local providers

 Why do it?

Apprentices have better long term salary prospects. Doing an Apprenticeship gives you a work-based higher education learning qualifications such as National Vocational Qualification Level 4, a Higher National Certificate or Higher National Diploma or a knowledge-based qualification such as a Foundation Degree. There are many progression options including to higher levels of education.

 How much does it cost?

Fully funded - the cost of the fees are shared between government and your employer.

 How long does it take?

Varies depending on the sector, qualification and your existing skills (generally between one and four years).

 Is funding available?

Jobcentre Plus provide assistance for the unemployed, towards travel costs to interviews and for the first three months of their apprenticeship. Contact your local Jobcentre for more information. In some local authority areas you may be entitled to a travel discount, check with your local authority or Apprenticeship Hub to see if there are any schemes available in your local area. Apprentices are entitled to an NUS Card through the National Union of Students. For just £11 you are entitled to discounts at many of your favourite high street and online retailers. Visit apprenticeextra.co.uk for more details.

 Who is this appropriate for?

Aimed at people aged over 18 with level 3 qualifications or those progressing from Advanced Apprenticeships.

 Benefits

Can lead to further training at the next level, such as a degree. Allows you to work towards a job promotion. All apprentices earn a salary (at least the national minimum apprenticeship wage and many employers pay significantly more). Most of the training is delivered in the workplace, meaning that you learn skills to do the job well and get a real advantage in the workplace. A Higher Apprenticeships will give you the high level technical skills needed for the jobs of the future. "

  Application Type Required:

Application for Apprenticeship

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

Progressing your qualifications is a positive for career and other reasons. A wide range of organisations offer qualifications at post-graduate level including universities. Your options include doing a Masters Qualification, a Post-graduate taught qualification or a Post-graduate research qualification, conversion courses and professional qualifications.

 How much does it cost?

Depends on course and study mode.

 How long does it take?

Depends on the course. Post-graduate degrees are normally at least 3 years if taken full-time.

 Is funding available?

Financial support is available through loans, studentships, bursaries and grants. If you are working you might also get help from your employer for work-related courses.

 Who is this appropriate for?

People who already have qualifications at Level 4+ who want to continue to study the subject to a very high level. People who want to get a management qualification (such as an MBA) to improve their skills and qualifications building on their years of work experience. Some postgraduate degrees require the completion of particular bachelor’s degree, others don’t.

 Benefits

Post-graduate qualifications are likely to increase your salary prospects (check this is the case in your field if this is your motivation). Doing these courses will boost your knowledge and perhaps allow you to become a specialist in your subject.

  Application Type Required:

Application for higher level

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

A work-related course which gives you practical skills for specific areas of work. You will benefit from teaching that is done in the classroom, but with an emphasis on practical skills and group tasks, and with work placements in your area of study to give you experience ‘on the job’.

 How much does it cost?

Varies. Fees for courses are set by the individual university that validates the course.

 How long does it take?

A full time course generally takes one year to complete.

 Is funding available?

Full time students quality for student loans (you don’t start repaying loans until you earn £21,000 or above).

 Who is this appropriate for?

People who want to work and study.

 Benefits

You will benefit from teaching done in the classroom, but with an emphasis on practical skills and group tasks, and with work placements in your area of study to give you experience ‘on the job’.

  Application Type Required:

Application for full-time HND/HNC

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

A work-related course which gives you practical skills for specific areas of work. You will benefit from teaching that is done in the classroom, but with an emphasis on practical skills and group tasks, and with work placements in your area of study to give you experience ‘on the job’.

 How much does it cost?

Varies. Fees for courses are set by the individual university that validates the course.

 How long does it take?

Generally takes two years part-time.

 Is funding available?

Part time students can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan (replacing the grant system)

 Who is this appropriate for?

People who want to work and study.

 Benefits

You will benefit from teaching done in the classroom, but with an emphasis on practical skills and group tasks, and with work placements in your area of study to give you experience ‘on the job’.

  Application Type Required:

Application for part-time and distance learning HNC/HND

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

A work-related course which gives you practical skills for specific areas of work. You will benefit from teaching that is done in the classroom, but with an emphasis on practical skills and group tasks, and with work placements in your area of study to give you experience ‘on the job’.

 How much does it cost?

Varies. Fees for courses are set by the individual university that validates the course.

 How long does it take?

A full-time HND generally takes two years to complete if taken full-time. You may be able to take a HND in one year if you a relevant HNC qualification.

 Is funding available?

Part time students can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan (replacing the grant system)

 Who is this appropriate for?

People with some previous qualifications who are interested in a specific career and want practical based learning.

 Benefits

Combines academic study with workplace learning. A HND will show prospective employers that you have specific interests and abilities in the industry. You can go into the third year of a full degree if decide you want to graduate after all.

  Application Type Required:

Application for full-time HND/HNC

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

A work-related course which gives you practical skills for specific areas of work. You will benefit from teaching that is done in the classroom, but with an emphasis on practical skills and group tasks, and with work placements in your area of study to give you experience.

 How much does it cost?

Varies. Fees for courses are set by the individual university that validates the course.

 How long does it take?

A full-time HND generally takes two years to complete if taken full-time. You may be able to take a HND in one year if you a relevant HNC qualification.

 Is funding available?

Part time students can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan (replacing the grant system)

 Who is this appropriate for?

People with some previous qualifications who are interested in a specific career and want practical based learning.

 Benefits

Combines academic study with workplace learning. A HND will show prospective employers that you have specific interests and abilities in the industry. You can go into the third year of a full degree if decide you want to graduate after all.

  Application Type Required:

Application for part-time and distance learning HNC/HND

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

Allows you to earn while you learn. Lead to nationally recognised qualifications (usually combining an National Vocational Qualification (NVQ); Key Skills qualifications; a technical qualification (such as a BTEC or City & Guilds); plus other qualifications by the occupation. Apprentices have better long term salary prospects. There are many progression options including to higher levels of education.

 How much does it cost?

Fully funded - the cost of the fees are shared between government and your employer.

 How long does it take?

Between one and four years depending on the sector, the qualification and your existing skills.

 Is funding available?

Jobcentre Plus provide assistance for the unemployed, towards travel costs to interviews and for the first three months of their apprenticeship. Contact your local Jobcentre for more information. In some local authority areas you may be entitled to a travel discount, check with your local authority or Apprenticeship Hub to see if there are any schemes available in your local area. Apprentices are entitled to an NUS Card through the National Union of Students. For just £11 you are entitled to discounts at many of your favourite high street and online retailers. Visit apprenticeextra.co.uk for more details.

 Who is this appropriate for?

Open to all those over 16 years-old regardless of work status (more adults are now undertaking Apprenticeships).

 Benefits

Provide a mix of qualifications and on the job experience. Available across a wide range of industries. Designed to develop the skills employers want and open up your career choices; Completing an Apprenticeship can enable you to progress into Foundation Degree or other higher level qualifications. In some sectors you can progress to a Higher Apprenticeship which provides a degree level qualification.

  Application Type Required:

Application for Apprenticeship

 Why do it?

To help you get more out of your current job, or to get a new job or career.

 How much does it cost?

Depends which course you choose.

 How long does it take?

Depends on the topic and whether you want to achieve a qualification.

 Is funding available?

There are many free courses available.

 Who is this appropriate for?

People who are in work and who want to  develop their skills to do their current job better, or get a promotion or new job.

 Benefits

The opportunity to learn something new which will be relevant to your job and career whilst at work.

  Application Type Required:

Application for learning at work

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

Offers you the chance to learn whilst helping others. Many volunteering opportunities provide extensive training. It can help you build upon skills you already have and use them to benefit the community, and to develop skills in new areas.

 How much does it cost?

Usually free

 How long does it take?

Opportunities vary from a few hours, days to weeks, depending on the type of training and what's involved. Some volunteer training (eg. crisis counselling) is extensive.

 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for?

People who are not currently in work but who want to get a step on the ladder to succeeding in a new job or career. People who are in a job who want to learn something new whilst helping others.

 Benefits

Free learning in a community setting where you can develop a whole range of new skills and meet new people.

  Application Type Required:

Application for learning through volunteering

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

A chance to return to education to learn for pleasure, to gain skills for the workplace or for hobbies and pastimes, and to meet like-minded people. Some courses are available at different levels of experience - ranging from courses for those who have no experience in the subject; very basic knowledge of the subject (for example some memory from school); to those who already have some experience and training and want to develop a greater knowledge of the skill or maintain confidence.

 How much does it cost?

Most providers have a standard fee structure. For a typical short course you would pay from £50-£150 for courses run over 4-8 weeks.

 How long does it take?

Range from a few days to a number of weeks.

 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for?

People who want to do something new for fun or develop their knowledge in something they enjoy, whilst meeting new people.

 Benefits

Courses are designed specifically to meet the needs of adults. There is a wide range of options available and you can use these courses as a springboard for further learning.

  Application Type Required:

Application for adult and community learning

  External Links to Further Information:

Do an internet search on leisure courses in your area or consult an online database of courses such as:

UCAS

 Why do it?

To get an introduction to a topic and the opportunity to join in a learning community. An opportunity to take courses from institutions all over Europe, no matter where you are.

 How much does it cost?

Many courses are free to join and undertaken on line. Some may make a charge to get a certificate of participation.

 How long does it take?

Courses vary from 2-10 weeks (usually 6+ weeks).

 Is funding available?

Most courses are free.

 Who is this appropriate for?

People who want to use a digital learning platform learn something new. Courses are at many different levels including for higher education and professional development.

 Benefits

Flexible - study at any time and track your progress; Courses are free; Online forums allow you to speak to and discuss the topics with other learners. The courses are based on proven teaching methods verified by research.

  Application Type Required:

Application for Massive Open Online Course

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

A starting point for people who are new to a subject. They will improve your basic knowledge.

 How much does it cost?

The amount of fees charged varies for each course. You will need to contact the providing institution to find out what they charge.

 How long does it take?

Flexible to suit you with no time limit - usually one year at level 1/2.

 Is funding available?

24+ Advanced Learning Loans are offered by most NVQ providers. Some NVQ courses can be taken as part of an Apprenticeship and are fully funded.

 Who is this appropriate for?

People who know what career they are interested in and want to study a vocationally-related qualification. This could include full-time employees or people with a part-time job that enables them to develop the appropriate skills at work. There are no age limits and no special entry requirements. NVQs at level 1-2 are good for people who want to develop their skills from scratch.

 Benefits

Based on national occupational standards including current best practice; You can do them without having to give up work. They demonstrate your true skills to do a job. New skills and ways of learning can be used immediately. Typically, candidates choose an NVQ that reflects their role in a paid or voluntary position, which shows they have the competencies required for the job.

  Application Type Required:

Application for NVQ

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it? To prove that you can do certain work-related tasks (you build up evidence of what you've done at work; or an assessor watches you work and checks that you can do the tasks).
 How much does it cost? The amount of fees charged varies for each course. You will need to contact the providing institution to find out what they charge.
 How long does it take? Flexible to suit you with no time limit - usually two years at level 3
 Is funding available? 24+ Advanced Learning Loans are offered by most NVQ providers. Some NVQ courses can be taken as part of an Apprenticeship and are fully funded.
 Who is this appropriate for? People who know what career they are interested in and want to study a vocationally-related qualification. This could include full-time employees or people with a part-time job that enables them to develop the appropriate skills at work. There are no age limits and no special entry requirements. NVQs at level 3 are good for people who already have skills and want to increase them.
 Benefits Based on national occupational standards including current best practice; You can do them without having to give up work. They demonstrate your true skills to do a job. New skills and ways of learning can be used immediately. National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) at Level 3 are equivalent to A levels. They can give you practical experience alongside classroom study which may give you an edge over people with academic qualifications who may have no experience in the workplace.

  Application Type Required:

Application for NVQ

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

As a way of advancing study in a topic and gaining an essential qualification.

 How much does it cost?

Typically online courses cost around £300-£400.

 How long does it take?

Study at your own pace.

 Is funding available?

24+ Advanced Learning Loan are available for eligible full and part-time students at Level 3. if you are unemployed and in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance and this is your first attempt at this level of qualification then you may be eligible for your fees to be paid.

 Who is this appropriate for?

People with Level 2 qualifications who want to progress and gain a widely recognised general qualification. People who want flexibility in organising their learning at a time and rate to suit them, and who are self-motivated or independent.

 Benefits

A Levels are a widely taken qualification and considered the educational standard. They help you to get into college or university, and are needed for a large number of jobs. Are available in a wide variety of subjects (including some subjects which are closely linked with work, e.g. business studies).

  Application Type Required:

Application to GCSE and A level

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it? To prepare you for studying at university. A small number of courses available for distance learning or online study. If you have a particular degree in mind you should check that this qualification will meet the entry requirements.
 How much does it cost? The costs vary by provider and the course.
 How long does it take? At least 1 year.
 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for? People who want to study at home in their own time to obtain a qualification and prepare themselves for study in Higher Education. Usually undertaken by people who do not have the qualifications which are required for HE entry, such as A levels.
 Benefits Allows you to study online or by distance learning at a time to suit you. Specifically prepares you for study in Higher Education. Available in a range of different subjects to cater for different interests and careers.

  Application Type Required:

Application to Access to HE

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

As a way of beginning studying a subject for the first time, and gaining an essential qualification.

 How much does it cost?

Typically online courses cost around £300-£400.

 How long does it take?

Study at your own pace.

 Is funding available?

Some Maths and English GCSE qualifications are free to study if you don’t have a previous qualification.

 Who is this appropriate for?

People with no/low qualifications who want to get a widely recognised general qualification. You do not need to have studied the subject before. People who want flexibility in organising their learning at a time and rate to suit them, and who are self-motivated or independent.

 Benefits

GCSEs are the most widely taken qualification in the UK and considered the educational standard. They help you to get into college or university, and are needed for a large number of jobs. Are available in a wide variety of subjects (including some subjects which are closely linked with work, e.g. business studies).

  Application Type Required:

Application to GCSE and A level

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

To get access to hundreds of free courses from the Open University in a wide range of subject areas. You can also take part in debates and do games and quizzes to increase your knowledge, and find out about new topics.

 How much does it cost?

Free

 How long does it take?

Courses range from a few hours to a few days. You can take the time you need to complete and there is an activity log on your account which will help you track your progress.

 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for?

People who want to learn informally and engage with lots of innovative topics and new ideas.

 Benefits

Flexible and wide-ranging with something to suit everyone.

  Application Type Required:

Application for Open Educational Resources

  External Links to Further Information:

Visit OpenLearn to find a variety of Open Educational Resources (OERs):

OpenLearn

 Why do it?

Prepares you to study at university level. Builds confidence in studying. Develops your study skills.

 How much does it cost?

The charge depends on your income. Even if you don’t qualify for a free course there are (or if you're studying the module on a standalone basis rather than part of a degree), there are flexible ways to pay including a student loan or spreading the cost through monthly payments.

 How long does it take?

30 weeks starting in February or October. Recommended study is at least 9 hours a week.

 Is funding available?

Courses are free if you are preparing for an OU qualification and have a household income of less than £25,000 (or are in receipt of qualifying benefits).

 Who is this appropriate for?

People with little or no experience of university-level study who want a taster of distance learning.

 Benefits

Gives you a taster of a subject. Cheaper than undergraduate degree courses. Access module learners often do better in their final degrees

  Application Type Required:

Application for OU Access Module

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

To get a vocational qualification, usually involving practical training. Professional qualifications tend to be associated with specific industries, and allow you to improve and develop relevant skills for a particular career. Some professions, such as law, engineering and accountancy, require you to have certain professional qualifications in order to practice or to obtain ‘chartered status’ in your chosen profession. However, you can get professional qualifications in a wide range of industries as advertising, marketing, sport and banking. Some professional qualifications are embedded in other qualifications. Some are stand alone such as AAT.

 How much does it cost?

The costs vary by course. Some professional qualifications can be relative high cost, and you will need to consider if the job outcomes make it work the investment.

 How long does it take?

Ranges from a few weeks to several years depending on the qualification and how studied.

 Is funding available?

Some employers agree to fund or contribute towards the cost of getting a professional qualification.

 Who is this appropriate for?

People already in a professional field who want to gain a professional qualification as a stamp of approval and to improve their skills to benefit their employability. For people with a non-vocational degree, a professional qualification can be a step into a specific career. Before considering a professional qualification you should check that the qualification you’ll receive is respected in your profession and accredited by a well established professional body.

 Benefits

Professional qualifications are developed by professional associations or bodies and therefore the qualifications meet the needs of the members. These qualifications give you career development appropriate to a specific career sector, and enhance your employment prospects.

  Application Type Required:

Application for Professional Qualifications

  External Links to Further Information:

Search online for the industry association or body relevant to your chosen career.

 Why do it?

To recognise small steps of learning and enable you to build up your learning at your own pace and put them towards a full qualification. Can lead to further training at the same or next level depending on level of credits achieved. Allows you to keep track of your achievements so you don’t have to repeat your learning. Gives you relevant skills for the workplace.

 How much does it cost?

Providers will apply their standard fee structure.

 How long does it take?

Depends on the number of credits. Within reason, QCF qualifications do not have to be completed in a specified amount of time.

 Is funding available?

Some short taster courses are free.

 Who is this appropriate for?

People who want to study flexibly at their own pace whilst gaining credits.

 Benefits

Study online in your own time, including in short bursts of learning. If you fail to complete the entire award, you can still gain recognised credits rather than walking away empty handed.

  Application Type Required:

Application for NVQ

  External Links to Further Information:

Make an internet search for online courses in the subject you are interested in

 Why do it?

To recognise small steps of learning and enable you to build up your learning at your own pace and put them towards a full qualification. Can lead to further training at the same or next level depending on level of credits achieved. Allows you to keep track of your achievements so you don’t have to repeat your learning. Gives you relevant skills for the workplace.

 How much does it cost?

The amount of fees charged varies for each course. You will need to contact the providing institution to find out what they charge.

 How long does it take?

Depends on the number of credits. Within reason, QCF qualifications do not have to be completed in a specified amount of time.

 Is funding available?

24+ Advanced Learning Loans may be available for people studying at Level 3.

 Who is this appropriate for?

People who want flexible routes to a full qualification by building up credits over a period of time.

 Benefits

The main advantage is flexibility of the QCF system which allows learners to gain qualifications at their own pace along routes that suit them best. If you fail to complete the entire award, you can still gain recognised credits rather than walking away empty handed.

  Application Type Required:

Application for NVQ

  External Links to Further Information:

Make an internet search for local courses in the subject you are interested in

 Why do it?

To study a subject you enjoy to a high level that will help you reach your goals for your career or to progress in academic learning, whilst also getting some work experience as part of your degree. Some of your studies take place working in industry or studying abroad.

 How much does it cost?

Higher Education Providers set fees for their courses. In England providers can charge up to £9,000 per course year. During the period you are doing work experience or studying abroad your annual tuition fee will probably be lower for that year.

 How long does it take?

Usually taken over 4 years.

 Is funding available?

Tuition fee loans are available to cover the course costs (you don’t have to pay it back until after your course, when you’re earning above a certain level). You can also apply for a maintenance loans (how much you get depends on your household income, where you study, where you live and how long for). Universities also have their own scholarship and bursary schemes to provide support to students meeting certain criteria.

 Who is this appropriate for?

Higher education is open to a wide range of people, an increasing number of adults are taking degrees as mature students from every type of background. If you don’t meet the entry criteria for courses based on previous qualifications, you can often enter through an alternative entry route which takes account of any work experience. Sandwich degrees are good people who want to chance to work in industry to develop real practical skills or to study abroad to a experience a different country and culture.

 Benefits

Taking a degree will boost your long term earning potential. Graduates from Sandwich Degrees have better employment outcomes. It gives you the chance to explore a subject you find interesting or rewarding and increase your skills and knowledge. It can be particular beneficial if you are looking to change direction or take on a new challenge.

  Application Type Required:

Application for full-time Foundation Degree

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

To get job-focused training for a specific role or career.

 How much does it cost?

The amount of fees charged varies for each course. You will need to contact the providing institution to find out what they charge.

 How long does it take?

Depends on the course (specialist course are usually 3-4 months).

 Is funding available?

24+ Advanced Learning Loans are offered by some vocational training providers

 Who is this appropriate for?

People who are not in a job and can't take an NVQ.

 Benefits

Helps to improve your knowledge and skills to progress in a job or career. Can be a route into further learning and may give you UCAS tariff points.

  Application Type Required:

Application for NVQ

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it? You get to learn something which interests you, meet new people and experience new surroundings. You get to study during organised sessions and to socialise and enjoy a break.
 How much does it cost? Depends on the length of course and what's involved ranging from a few pounds to a few hundred pounds. Residential courses are usually more costly.
 How long does it take? One day to a few days.
 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for? People who wan to learn for pleasure in the company of like-minded people. Can provide a new experience and push you to do something out of your normal comfort zone.
 Benefits Available in a wide range of subjects and locations. Often offer unique learning experiences that can be a life changing experience. For example the chance to learn with experts or do an important project.

  Application Type Required:

Application for specialist day and residential leisure courses and breaks

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

To get an informal course which will build your knowledge and skills to support you in a caring role for other adults.

 How much does it cost?

Free

 How long does it take?

Based a number of modules which can be undertaken flexibly in your own time

 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for?

Anyone who is involved in caring for other adults and wants to develop skills to help them in their caring role.

 Benefits

Will help you to develop knowledge and skills to support you in caring for adults including skills in communicating, and promoting physical and emotional well-being. The course also gives you the opportunity to earn digital badges to demonstrate your new skills., and can be helpful if you are considering progressing from informal to formal learning.

  Application Type Required:

Application for SPN Courses

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

To enhance your knowledge and skills in order to improve career progression in healthcare.

 How much does it cost?

Free

 How long does it take?

Based a number of modules which can be undertaken flexibly in your own time

 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for?

Healthcare support staff – for example healthcare assistants, porters, and the wider healthcare team .

 Benefits

This course will develop your knowledge and skills for a deeper understanding of healthcare practice. You will be introduced to some key ideas around quality care and you will have the opportunity to reflect on how these ideas might be applied in practice. The course also gives you the opportunity to earn digital badges to demonstrate your new skills., and can be helpful if you are considering progressing from informal to formal learning.

  Application Type Required:

Application for SPN Courses

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

To get an information to help you to change jobs, move up the career ladder or return to work after a break.

 How much does it cost?

Free

 How long does it take?

Based a number of modules which can be undertaken flexibly in your own time

 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for?

Anyone who wants to undertake some informal learning online to help you to change or move on in your career.

 Benefits

Gain new ideas and insights to help you to get ahead in a new or current career, or otherwise aspire to better things. The course also gives you the opportunity to earn digital badges to demonstrate your new skills., and can be helpful if you are considering progressing from informal to formal learning.

  Application Type Required:

Application for SPN Courses

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it? Allows you to develop your knowledge and understanding by applying your learning and skills in a work-related context. Will give you an introduction to key areas in your chosen field.
 How much does it cost? The amount of fees charged varies for each course. You will need to contact the providing institution to find out what they charge.
 How long does it take? Depends on study mode, usually 1 year full time.
 Is funding available? 24+ Advanced Learning Loans are offered. Some courses can be taken as part of an Apprenticeship and are fully funded.
 Who is this appropriate for? Designed for adults returning to study, those who have not yet achieved accredited qualifications, or those with specific learning needs, who want to take a first step in learning in a vocational area.
 Benefits Gives to an introduction to career and the skills to start off in this job.

  Application Type Required:

Application for NVQ

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it? Allows you to develop your knowledge and understanding by applying their learning and skills in a work-related context. Will give you an introduction to key areas in your chosen field.
 How much does it cost? The amount of fees charged varies for each course. You will need to contact the providing institution to find out what they charge.
 How long does it take? Depends on study mode, usually 1 year full time.
 Is funding available? 24+ Advanced Learning Loans are offered. Some courses can be taken as part of an Apprenticeship and are fully funded.
 Who is this appropriate for? People who want to progress their career through higher level technical study, or follow an apprenticeship route. There is an emphasis on gaining the specific area of knowledge, skills and understanding required by your industry sector.
 Benefits You get to develop knowledge and understanding by applying your learning and skills in a work-related context. The qualifications have proven to be a trusted progression route to further study, to an apprenticeship or into employment.

  Application Type Required:

Application for NVQ

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it? Allows you to develop your knowledge and understanding by applying their learning and skills in a work-related context. Will get a qualification equivalent to A levels and can use this as a route to university.
 How much does it cost? The amount of fees charged varies for each course. You will need to contact the providing institution to find out what they charge.
 How long does it take? Depends on study mode, usually 1 year full time.
 Is funding available? 24+ Advanced Learning Loans are offered. Some courses can be taken as part of an Apprenticeship and are fully funded.
 Who is this appropriate for? People who want to progress their career through higher level technical study, or follow an apprenticeship route. There is an emphasis on gaining the specific area of knowledge, skills and understanding required by your industry sector.
 Benefits Provide specialist, work-related learning. These qualifications will give you the knowledge, skills and understanding you need for your chosen career. They also offer progression to higher or further education.

  Application Type Required:

Application for NVQ

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it? As a stepping stone to an Access to HE programme or other Level 3 course.
 How much does it cost? The amount of fees charged varies for each course. You will need to contact the providing institution to find out what they charge.
 How long does it take? Usually up to one year for a course involving 16 hours a week.
 Is funding available? 24+ Advanced Learning Loan are for eligible full and part-time students on Access to University Courses.
 Who is this appropriate for? People with no formal qualifications who have been out of education/training for a while and need more time to work towards a higher education qualification.
 Benefits Allows progression on to the Access to HE programme for those who do not have the required qualifications.

  Application Type Required:

Application to Access to HE

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it? Helps you to get a job and the skills and experience to boost your career prospects. A traineeship will give you the work experience, work preparation training, and English and maths support (if needed) to secure an apprenticeship or other employment.
 How much does it cost? Traineeships are free to undertake.
 How long does it take? A traineeship can last anything from six weeks to six months.
 Is funding available? Traineeships are free to undertake.
 Who is this appropriate for? Young people who need more skills or work experience to get into a job or apprenticeship/training course. Traineeships are mainly for people aged 16-24 with few qualifications and who are not in work (or only working a few hours). You can receive unemployment benefit whilst on a traineeship provided you stay within benefit rules. People over 25 with a Learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA) or Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) also qualify.
 Benefits A work placement that combines work experience with skills training. You can train whilst on a work placement which means you will link to local employers. The training is designed to help you to get ready for work, such as job search and interview skills, time-keeping and team working, plus you can improve your English and maths if you need to.

  Application Type Required:

Application for a Traineeship

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

Learning through Unionlearn and TUC education can help your development at all levels, from basic numeracy and literacy to degree level qualifications.

 How much does it cost?

Free for TUC affiliated union reps

 How long does it take?

A wide range of options are offered, from a few days to a few weeks, including some courses you can do online. Typically study is for at least 3 hours a week.

 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for?

People who are in a union who want to take part in skills building courses.

 Benefits

You will develop your skills and knowledge to help you in your work and as a union rep. Plus, qualifications and credit are awarded for achieving the learning outcomes for courses and you will get a certificate on completion. Credits can be built up over a number of years and are transferable throughout the country. They can be used to gain access to other courses in further and higher education.

  Application Type Required:

Application for Unionlearn Skills Building Courses

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

To do classroom-based learning leading to a qualifications that will help you gain knowledge and skills to do a job or take a NVQ.

 How much does it cost?

The amount of fees charged varies for each course. You will need to contact the providing institution to find out what they charge.

 How long does it take?

Depends on the course (larger qualifications take around two years).

 Is funding available?

24+ Advanced Learning Loans are offered by some vocational training providers

 Who is this appropriate for?

People who are not in a job and can't take an NVQ.

 Benefits

Help to improve your knowledge and skills to do a particular job/career. Level 3 qualification can be a route into higher education by giving UCAS tariff points.

  Application Type Required:

Application for NVQ

  External Links to Further Information:

This tab shows your customised 'Skills for Life' recommendations for numeracy, literacy, English as a second language and ICT (if any were selected). Recommendations may overlap between tabs as some options cover more than one area.

Click an option to see further information.

Literacy / Reading and Writing recommendations recommendations

 Why do it? Gives you an accessible way of improving your English and Maths skills by doing online activities.
 How much does it cost? Free
 How long does it take? The activities are quick and easy to complete. You decide how long you want to spend.
 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for? People who want some support with their English and Maths which they can access in their own home at their own pace.
 Benefits Free online courses which are relatively easy to complete in short bursts. You can spend as much or as little time as you need.

  Application Type Required:

Application to BBC Skillswise

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it? Can improve your numeracy and literacy skills and help you get a better job.
 How much does it cost? Courses are free if you want to develop your literacy and numeracy skills.
 How long does it take? Depends on the level and number of units studied.
 Is funding available? Most courses are free.
 Who is this appropriate for? The Certificates in Adult Literacy and Numeracy are for adults who want to improve their numeracy or literacy skills.
 Benefits Available in a wide range of locations, either a college a community centre, or within your workplace. You learn in a group.

  Application Type Required:

Application for adult and community learning

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

To discover new skills in a supportive and friendly environment. To gain national literacy and numeracy qualifications. To get involved in a child’s education and help to raise attainment levels.

 How much does it cost?

Free (funded by the Skills Funding Agency)

 How long does it take?

Typically short sessions can be a few hours. Other courses usually range from 10 to 60 hours over 5-10 weeks.

 Is funding available?

Free

 Who is this appropriate for?

Family learning is targeted in priority wards and for priority groups and aims to recruit the less confident learners (below level 2). The term ‘family’ includes all members of the extended family including parents, careers, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles.

 Benefits

Gives adults the opportunity to gain a national qualification in literacy and numeracy. Gives families the opportunity to learn together. Delivered in a wide range of community venues. Childcare can be funded.

  Application Type Required:

Application for Family Learning

  External Links to Further Information:

Make an internet search for Family Learning in your area

 Why do it?

Support you to develop the practical skills you need for life, education and the workplace. Equip learners with the practical skills needed to live, learn and work successfully.

 How much does it cost?

Check with local colleges and adult education. Courses are free if you want to develop your literacy and numeracy skills. Some other free courses are available via learndirect

 How long does it take?

Depends on the course and study mode.

 Is funding available?

Most courses are free.

 Who is this appropriate for?

Anyone wanting to develop their English, mathematics or IT skills.

 Benefits

Use a variety of assessment options depending on the specific qualification taken and are designed to reflect the various needs of learners. Providing skills to apply the learning in a practical way to their own personal situations by providing provide realistic contexts, scenarios and problems to develop understanding.

  Application Type Required:

Application for adult and community learning

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

Passes in English and maths are required for an increasingly large number of jobs.

 How much does it cost?

Depends on the provider and mode of study. A typical course costs around £500.

 How long does it take?

Usually one year to complete 1-2 GCSEs.

 Is funding available?

Some Maths and English GCSE qualifications are free to study if you don’t have a previous qualification.

 Who is this appropriate for?

People with no/low qualifications who want to get a widely recognised general qualification. You do not need to have studied the subject before.

 Benefits

Helps you to show you have the skills that employers need, or to get into college. GCSEs are the most widely taken qualification in the UK and considered the educational standard.

  Application Type Required:

Application to GCSE and A level

  External Links to Further Information:

Make an online search for your local providers

 Why do it?

To improve and gain confidence in your reading, writing and number skills, which will help with job prospects or if you want to progress to other courses. These courses also help you in every day life such as understanding money issues and filling in forms. To study an online course that give you a nationally recognised qualifications.

 How much does it cost?

Courses are free if you are improving your literacy and numeracy or IT.

 How long does it take?

You learn at your own pace.

 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for?

People who want to do online learning, with support, to improve their maths, English or IT skills. People who do not have an up-to-date English or maths qualification at Level 2 who want to learn flexibly in their own home at a time to suit them.

 Benefits

Gives you nationally recognised qualifications. Courses designed specifically for adults and using proven methods to boost your confidence and develop your skills.

  Application Type Required:

Application for skills for life and functional skills online

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it? To improve and gain confidence in your reading, writing and number skills, which will help with job prospects or if you want to progress to other courses. These courses also help you in every day life such as understanding money issues and filling in forms.
 How much does it cost? Usually free
 How long does it take? Depends on type of course and whether it is doing intensively.
 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for? People who want to develop the skills you need in everyday life, such as reading, writing, maths or IT, to boost their CV or to move on to further study. They are designed for people who do not have an up-to-date English or maths qualification at Level 2.
 Benefits Courses designed specifically for adults at different levels. You will work in small groups and enjoy lots of practical activities. You can learn in your local area, in a way that suits your lifestyle: part-time, during the day or in the evening.

  Application Type Required:

Application for Skills for Life

  External Links to Further Information:

Do an internet search on Skills for Life in your area

Numeracy / Mathematics recommendations

 Why do it? Gives you an accessible way of improving your English and Maths skills by doing online activities.
 How much does it cost? Free
 How long does it take? The activities are quick and easy to complete. You decide how long you want to spend.
 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for? People who want some support with their English and Maths which they can access in their own home at their own pace.
 Benefits Free online courses which are relatively easy to complete in short bursts. You can spend as much or as little time as you need.

  Application Type Required:

Application to BBC Skillswise

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it? Can improve your numeracy and literacy skills and help you get a better job.
 How much does it cost? Courses are free if you want to develop your literacy and numeracy skills.
 How long does it take? Depends on the level and number of units studied.
 Is funding available? Most courses are free.
 Who is this appropriate for? The Certificates in Adult Literacy and Numeracy are for adults who want to improve their numeracy or literacy skills.
 Benefits Available in a wide range of locations, either a college a community centre, or within your workplace. You learn in a group.

  Application Type Required:

Application for adult and community learning

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

To discover new skills in a supportive and friendly environment. To gain national literacy and numeracy qualifications. To get involved in a child’s education and help to raise attainment levels.

 How much does it cost?

Free (funded by the Skills Funding Agency)

 How long does it take?

Typically short sessions can be a few hours. Other courses usually range from 10 to 60 hours over 5-10 weeks.

 Is funding available?

Free

 Who is this appropriate for?

Family learning is targeted in priority wards and for priority groups and aims to recruit the less confident learners (below level 2). The term ‘family’ includes all members of the extended family including parents, careers, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles.

 Benefits

Gives adults the opportunity to gain a national qualification in literacy and numeracy. Gives families the opportunity to learn together. Delivered in a wide range of community venues. Childcare can be funded.

  Application Type Required:

Application for Family Learning

  External Links to Further Information:

Make an internet search for Family Learning in your area

 Why do it?

Support you to develop the practical skills you need for life, education and the workplace. Equip learners with the practical skills needed to live, learn and work successfully.

 How much does it cost?

Check with local colleges and adult education. Courses are free if you want to develop your literacy and numeracy skills. Some other free courses are available via learndirect

 How long does it take?

Depends on the course and study mode.

 Is funding available?

Most courses are free.

 Who is this appropriate for?

Anyone wanting to develop their English, mathematics or IT skills.

 Benefits

Use a variety of assessment options depending on the specific qualification taken and are designed to reflect the various needs of learners. Providing skills to apply the learning in a practical way to their own personal situations by providing provide realistic contexts, scenarios and problems to develop understanding.

  Application Type Required:

Application for adult and community learning

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

Passes in English and maths are required for an increasingly large number of jobs.

 How much does it cost?

Depends on the provider and mode of study. A typical course costs around £500.

 How long does it take?

Usually one year to complete 1-2 GCSEs.

 Is funding available?

Some Maths and English GCSE qualifications are free to study if you don’t have a previous qualification.

 Who is this appropriate for?

People with no/low qualifications who want to get a widely recognised general qualification. You do not need to have studied the subject before.

 Benefits

Helps you to show you have the skills that employers need, or to get into college. GCSEs are the most widely taken qualification in the UK and considered the educational standard.

  Application Type Required:

Application to GCSE and A level

  External Links to Further Information:

Make an online search for your local providers

 Why do it?

To improve and gain confidence in your reading, writing and number skills, which will help with job prospects or if you want to progress to other courses. These courses also help you in every day life such as understanding money issues and filling in forms. To study an online course that give you a nationally recognised qualifications.

 How much does it cost?

Courses are free if you are improving your literacy and numeracy or IT.

 How long does it take?

You learn at your own pace.

 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for?

People who want to do online learning, with support, to improve their maths, English or IT skills. People who do not have an up-to-date English or maths qualification at Level 2 who want to learn flexibly in their own home at a time to suit them.

 Benefits

Gives you nationally recognised qualifications. Courses designed specifically for adults and using proven methods to boost your confidence and develop your skills.

  Application Type Required:

Application for skills for life and functional skills online

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it? To improve and gain confidence in your reading, writing and number skills, which will help with job prospects or if you want to progress to other courses. These courses also help you in every day life such as understanding money issues and filling in forms.
 How much does it cost? Usually free
 How long does it take? Depends on type of course and whether it is doing intensively.
 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for? People who want to develop the skills you need in everyday life, such as reading, writing, maths or IT, to boost their CV or to move on to further study. They are designed for people who do not have an up-to-date English or maths qualification at Level 2.
 Benefits Courses designed specifically for adults at different levels. You will work in small groups and enjoy lots of practical activities. You can learn in your local area, in a way that suits your lifestyle: part-time, during the day or in the evening.

  Application Type Required:

Application for Skills for Life

  External Links to Further Information:

Do an internet search on Skills for Life in your area

Computer / ICT Skills recommendations

 Why do it? Will help to show your computer skills, and improve your computer skills. Certification will enhance your career prospects.
 How much does it cost? Depends on provider and study mode.
 How long does it take? Progress is flexible - you can work towards an Award, Certificate or a Diploma depending on how many units you choose to do. Available at colleges and other learning centres, and also online.
 Is funding available? People on a low income or on benefits may qualify for financial assistance from some providers.
 Who is this appropriate for? Those who want to build confidence in computer use and demonstrate proficiency.
 Benefits An internationally recognised course.

  Application Type Required:

Application for adult and community learning

  External Links to Further Information:

Do an internet search to find your local providers of CLAiT
 Why do it? Will help to show your computer skills, and improve your computer skills. Certification will enhance your career prospects.
 How much does it cost? Depends on provider and study mode.
 How long does it take? Varies and is available at beginner, intermediate, advanced and professional levels. You can complete in your own time. If you
 Is funding available? People on a low income or on benefits may qualify for financial assistance from some providers.
 Who is this appropriate for? People who want a basic qualification in computing. Suitable for all regardless of age, education, information technology (IT) experience or background.
 Benefits Widely recognisded general qualification recognised by employers. Equips you with the skills to use a computer confidently and effectively.

  Application Type Required:

Application for ECDL and CLAiT

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

Support you to develop the practical skills you need for life, education and the workplace. Equip learners with the practical skills needed to live, learn and work successfully.

 How much does it cost?

Check with local colleges and adult education. Courses are free if you want to develop your literacy and numeracy skills. Some other free courses are available via learndirect

 How long does it take?

Depends on the course and study mode.

 Is funding available?

Most courses are free.

 Who is this appropriate for?

Anyone wanting to develop their English, mathematics or IT skills.

 Benefits

Use a variety of assessment options depending on the specific qualification taken and are designed to reflect the various needs of learners. Providing skills to apply the learning in a practical way to their own personal situations by providing provide realistic contexts, scenarios and problems to develop understanding.

  Application Type Required:

Application for adult and community learning

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

To improve and gain confidence in your reading, writing and number skills, which will help with job prospects or if you want to progress to other courses. These courses also help you in every day life such as understanding money issues and filling in forms. To study an online course that give you a nationally recognised qualifications.

 How much does it cost?

Courses are free if you are improving your literacy and numeracy or IT.

 How long does it take?

You learn at your own pace.

 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for?

People who want to do online learning, with support, to improve their maths, English or IT skills. People who do not have an up-to-date English or maths qualification at Level 2 who want to learn flexibly in their own home at a time to suit them.

 Benefits

Gives you nationally recognised qualifications. Courses designed specifically for adults and using proven methods to boost your confidence and develop your skills.

  Application Type Required:

Application for skills for life and functional skills online

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it? To improve and gain confidence in your reading, writing and number skills, which will help with job prospects or if you want to progress to other courses. These courses also help you in every day life such as understanding money issues and filling in forms.
 How much does it cost? Usually free
 How long does it take? Depends on type of course and whether it is doing intensively.
 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for? People who want to develop the skills you need in everyday life, such as reading, writing, maths or IT, to boost their CV or to move on to further study. They are designed for people who do not have an up-to-date English or maths qualification at Level 2.
 Benefits Courses designed specifically for adults at different levels. You will work in small groups and enjoy lots of practical activities. You can learn in your local area, in a way that suits your lifestyle: part-time, during the day or in the evening.

  Application Type Required:

Application for Skills for Life

  External Links to Further Information:

Do an internet search on Skills for Life in your area

English as a second language recommendations

 Why do it?

To support your English language development which can help you at work or in further learning. The courses can also help you to deal with public services such as housing, help your child get on at school, or get more involved in the local community. There are three units: Reading, Writing and Speaking & Listening. The full-mode qualification requires all three, although a standalone Speaking and Listening qualification is also available.

 How much does it cost?

Courses are free if you want to develop your literacy and numeracy skills.

 How long does it take?

Depends on the level and number of units studied.

 Is funding available?

Most courses are free.

 Who is this appropriate for?

Anyone living in the UK whose first language isn't English. There are different levels available, for people whose English is at different levels. You usually take a short test (known as an initial assessment) to confirm which ESOL Skills for Life qualification and level is right for you.

 Benefits

Available in a wide range of locations, either a college a community centre, or within your workplace. You learn in a group.

  Application Type Required:

Application for adult and community learning

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

Support you to develop the practical skills you need for life, education and the workplace. Equip learners with the practical skills needed to live, learn and work successfully.

 How much does it cost?

Check with local colleges and adult education. Courses are free if you want to develop your literacy and numeracy skills. Some other free courses are available via learndirect

 How long does it take?

Depends on the course and study mode.

 Is funding available?

Most courses are free.

 Who is this appropriate for?

Anyone wanting to develop their English, mathematics or IT skills.

 Benefits

Use a variety of assessment options depending on the specific qualification taken and are designed to reflect the various needs of learners. Providing skills to apply the learning in a practical way to their own personal situations by providing provide realistic contexts, scenarios and problems to develop understanding.

  Application Type Required:

Application for adult and community learning

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

To improve and gain confidence in your reading, writing and number skills, which will help with job prospects or if you want to progress to other courses. These courses also help you in every day life such as understanding money issues and filling in forms. To study an online course that give you a nationally recognised qualifications.

 How much does it cost?

Courses are free if you are improving your literacy and numeracy or IT.

 How long does it take?

You learn at your own pace.

 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for?

People who want to do online learning, with support, to improve their maths, English or IT skills. People who do not have an up-to-date English or maths qualification at Level 2 who want to learn flexibly in their own home at a time to suit them.

 Benefits

Gives you nationally recognised qualifications. Courses designed specifically for adults and using proven methods to boost your confidence and develop your skills.

  Application Type Required:

Application for skills for life and functional skills online

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it? To improve and gain confidence in your reading, writing and number skills, which will help with job prospects or if you want to progress to other courses. These courses also help you in every day life such as understanding money issues and filling in forms.
 How much does it cost? Usually free
 How long does it take? Depends on type of course and whether it is doing intensively.
 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for? People who want to develop the skills you need in everyday life, such as reading, writing, maths or IT, to boost their CV or to move on to further study. They are designed for people who do not have an up-to-date English or maths qualification at Level 2.
 Benefits Courses designed specifically for adults at different levels. You will work in small groups and enjoy lots of practical activities. You can learn in your local area, in a way that suits your lifestyle: part-time, during the day or in the evening.

  Application Type Required:

Application for Skills for Life

  External Links to Further Information:

Do an internet search on Skills for Life in your area

Starting up, running a business and self-employment recommendations

 Why do it?

To develop knowledge which will help you understand the requirements of self-employment/freelancing or running a small business, and skills to promote successful operations.

 How much does it cost?

Depends on the course and provider. Some free short courses are available online.

 How long does it take?

Ranges from short introductory modules and courses to intensive programmes to continuing professional development in business-related areas such as management and marketing.

 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for?

Anyone who has set up a small business, is considering setting one up or considering self-employment as a career option (you do not necessarily have a business idea in mind).

 Benefits

These courses will develop your knowledge of small business processes and requirements, and develop your skills in running and promoting a successful business.

  Application Type Required:

Application for miscellaneous qualifications

  External Links to Further Information:

Search online for local providers, or use a database such as

Training and Courses

 Why do it?

To develop your knowledge of general points and principles of small business start-up and operations and how these might be applied in practice, or because you are considering working for yourself and need information and support.

 How much does it cost?

Free

 How long does it take?

Based on a number of modules which can be undertaken flexibly in your own time

 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for?

Anyone who has recently set up a small or micro-business, is considering setting one up or considering self-employment as a career option (you do not necessarily have a business idea in mind).

 Benefits

To develop and test your knowledge of small business processes. The course also gives you the opportunity to earn digital badges to demonstrate your new skills., and can be helpful if you are considering progressing from informal to formal learning.

  Application Type Required:

Application for SPN Courses

  External Links to Further Information:

Volunteering recommendations

 Why do it?

To develop skills and knowledge within volunteer settings, which are valuable for volunteering and which can also support your personal development, and be helpful in employment and job search.

 How much does it cost?

Usually a small fee applies (around £20), and you may have to pay extra for a certificate.

 How long does it take?

A range of options are available including short courses of up to 60 hours.

 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for?

Anyone thinking about working as a volunteer along with those already in a volunteering role who want to enhance their knowledge and skills.

 Benefits

Will allow your volunteering skills to develop and be recognised, whilst allowing you to complete challenges and skills development according to individual ability, rather than attainment at a specific level.

  Application Type Required:

Application for ASDAN courses

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

To develop skills and knowledge within volunteer settings, which are valuable for volunteering and which can also support your personal development, and be helpful in employment and job search.

 How much does it cost?

Usually free, offered by many organisations who recruit volunteers.

 How long does it take?

Depends on the number of different awards and units which can be taken.

 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for?

Anyone thinking about working as a volunteer along with those already in a volunteering role who want to enhance their knowledge and skills.

 Benefits

Will give you qualifications within the QCF whilst covering skills identified by volunteering organisations as important in preparing volunteers for their volunteering role.

  Application Type Required:

Application for miscellaneous qualifications

  External Links to Further Information:

 Why do it?

To develop skills and knowledge which are valuable for volunteering and which can also support your personal development, and be helpful in employment and job search.

 How much does it cost?

A small fee may be applied of around £25.00

 How long does it take?

Each course includes a number of modules which can be undertaken flexibly in your own time

 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for?

Anyone thinking about working as a volunteer along with those already in a volunteering role who want to enhance their knowledge and skills.

 Benefits

Will provide you with an understanding of the voluntary sector and volunteering roles and provide awareness of the personal standards and skills required whilst volunteering,

  Application Type Required:

Application for NCFE courses

  External Links to Further Information:

Courses are delivered at approved centres. You can search on the NCFE website at:

NCFE

 Why do it?

To develop your knowledge and skills for a deeper understanding of the voluntary sector, and get to ideas around how voluntary organisations function and how you can apply this in practice.

 How much does it cost?

Free

 How long does it take?

Based a number of modules which can be undertaken flexibly in your own time

 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for?

Anyone who is new to working or volunteering in the voluntary sector, or those who might be looking to enhance their knowledge and skills in order to improve their career progression. The course would also be good for people seeking paid work, trustee roles , or with a general interest in the sector such as donors, supporters or carers who have involvement with voluntary organisations.

 Benefits

To gain skills and information of interest to moving into the voluntary sector, to enable you think about voluntary or paid work in the sector. The course also gives you the opportunity to earn digital badges to demonstrate your new skills., and can be helpful if you are considering progressing from informal to formal learning.

  Application Type Required:

Application for SPN Courses

  External Links to Further Information:

Supporting children's development recommendations

 Why do it?

To get an informal introductory course which will build your knowledge and skills to develop a deeper understanding of children from the early years to school leavers.

 How much does it cost?

Free

 How long does it take?

Based a number of modules which can be undertaken flexibly in your own time

 Is funding available?
 Who is this appropriate for?

Anyone who is interested in children’s development, especially support staff in schools, such as teaching assistants.

 Benefits

You will be introduced to some core ideas surrounding development and learning, behaviour, special needs and disabilities. The course also gives you the opportunity to earn digital badges to demonstrate your new skills., and can be helpful if you are considering progressing from informal to formal learning.

  Application Type Required:

Application for SPN Courses

  External Links to Further Information:

This tab gives you support recommendations based on the support options that were selected.

These results are tailored to the study and core skill recommendations generated, so more than one support statement may show in each support tab.

 Support for carers

Taking on a learning opportunity as a carer can be a valuable experience. It can help to boost self esteem, improve confidence and provide an opportunity to focus on your own interests. It can also be an important tool if you want to develop your career or return to work. However, it is important that you get the right support so you can find the time, the energy (and sometimes the money) to make the most of the opportunities open to you. When thinking about different types of learning you will need to look at the number of hours you will be expected to study to complete the programme and if you are learning face to face then it is important to check the likely timetable of attendance and think about how that fits into your daily routine. Before you start learning you will probably want to check out whether you getting all the financial and practical support you are entitled to as a carer. You may also need to check whether learning has an impact on any benefits you receive. There may be someone you already trust to provide advice on financial support or you may want to find someone to talk to. Taking on a new opportunity can be a challenge for anyone, but carers may find it helpful to talk to someone about the impact this may have for them and the people they care for. Finding organisations that provide emotional support may be helpful, you may well be in contact with support organisations but if not now is a good time to find out about what's on offer.

1 Useful information on carers assessments, respite care and financial support for carers:

NHS Carers' Assessments

2. A great starting point for any carer wanting general support and advice. Has detailed advice on financial support and a number of guides you can download:

Carers UK

Carers UK advice line can offer practical advice or just a listening ear. You can call them on 0808 808 7777. Most health related charities have online information and support for carers, for example Alzheimer's Society, Multiple Sclerosis Society and MENCAP (a charity focused on learning disabilities). Sometimes local charities have funds available to support carers interested in learning opportunities. To find charities relevant to you either go online or visit your local library. A staff member there will be able to find local organisations that you may want to contact.


 Learning from home

One of the particular advantages of remote or distance learning is that you can try and organise your study time around your other responsibilities. It means you can study at a time that suits you, for example when there is someone else around to look after the family or friends that you care for. It also means that you can study from home. However, some carers prefer to take a course that involves attendance at a local education provider as it is an opportunity to meet new people and have time away from your day to day environment. The good news is that there are different options open to you and plenty of help to weigh up what will work best.


 Support for further education students

If you are considering a further or adult education course then some institutions have funding to support students in financial difficulty, this may be called Discretionary Learner Support and it is money you do not need to pay back. You may wish to ask your education provider if there is any additional help they could offer you whilst studying with them.

Information about Learner Discretionary Funds for learners undertaking further education courses:

Discretionary Learner Support on Gov.uk

Talk to your college (or the one you would like to attend) and ask to speak to someone who can advise on financial support (they will usually have a student support team that does this)


 Support for higher education students

If you are considering a higher education course then some institutions have additional funding to support learners in financial difficulty, these may be called grants or bursaries. You may wish to ask your education provider if there is any additional help they could offer you whilst studying with them.

Overview of additional money HE institutions may be able to provide to students in finance hardship or on a low income:

Extra money on Gov.uk

Talk to your higher education institution (or the one you would like to attend) and ask to speak to someone who can advise on financial support (they will usually have a student support team that does this or the student union may also be able to help).


 Support for full time higher education students

If you are caring for an adult dependent and are thinking about full time higher education then you may be eligible for an Adult Dependent's Grant (which is money you don't have to pay back). The amount you could get is based upon your income and that of any dependent's and other personal circumstances (such as whether you have children). If you are awarded a grant then it could have an impact on other benefits so it is important you consider this.

Information about the Adult Dependent's Grant including how to apply:

Adult Dependants' Grant on Gov.uk

 Learning from home

One of the advantages of remote or distance learning is that you can try and organise your study time around your other responsibilities, that means you can study from home when the children are asleep or when there is someone else around to look after them. However, you still may prefer to find organise some regular childcare if you are about to start new course.


 Help with childcare

The good news is that there is lots of help to pay for childcare and plenty of advice about where to start looking for a nursery or childminder. However, what financial help you are entitled to depends on the age of your children, your own age, your financial circumstances and the type of course you are hoping to take. So it may take a little digging to make sure you have all the facts to hand. You may not be aware but in England all children aged 3 to 4 can get 570 hours of free childcare a year (this works out around 15 hours per week during school term times). This is regardless of your circumstances (and whether you are studying or not). Some children aged 2 can also get free childcare but you need to be on certain benefits or meet other criteria (for example if your child has special needs or a certain level of disability). Arrangements in other parts of the UK differ. If you are working then you need to check whether you are entitled to Tax Credits, which may provide additional money to cover childcare costs and if your child(ren) are disabled there is a range of support on offer. You will also want to check whether your employer runs a childcare voucher scheme, these save you money as your employer arranges payment for your childcare (directly from your salary) which reduces the overall amount of NI and tax you pay. If you are not employed but your husband or partner is their employer may have a childcare voucher scheme that they can use to make savings on your behalf. These schemes can make a huge difference to childcare costs but can have an impact on any Tax Credits you receive.

1.This site provides a good overview of all the support on offer across the UK.  There are sections on choosing a childcare provider and for childcare costs:

Childcare on Gov.uk

2. A good site if you like social networking  and are looking to find out what childcare is available in your area.  You will need to register and login for full site access (registration is free):

Childcare.co.uk

If you are employed speak to your employer (or your partner


 Support for further education students

If you are thinking about taking a further education course at a college or adult education centre and you are struggling financially then check if you are eligible for a

Talk to your college (or the one you are interested in attending) and ask to speak to someone who can advise on financial support (they will usually have a student support team that does this). They can tell you about whether you are eligible for any help and can put you in contact with any onsite childcare facilities.


 Support for higher education students

If you are thinking about taking a higher education course (for example a degree or a HND) then you will need to find out about all the different student finance available. Full time HE students can apply for a Parents Learning Allowance and a Childcare Grant, neither of which you have to pay back. If you are thinking about a part time HE course these are currently not open to you, therefore it may be worth thinking about whether a full time route could work for you. Some HE institutions do offer additional support to learners on low income or who are struggling financially so talking directly to the college or universities may be worthwhile. It is also worth noting that some education providers (for example colleges and universities) have their own childcare facilities on site, however waiting lists are usually long and you would still need to pay for it

This takes you through help with childcare costs whilst at HE institution:

Student finance on Gov.uk

Talk to your HE institution (or the one you are interested in attending) and ask to speak to someone who can advise on financial support (they will usually have a student support team that does this or the student union may help). They can tell you about whether you are eligible for any help and can put you in contact with any onsite childcare facilities.

 Declaring a criminal conviction

When applying or registering for a new learning opportunity you may be asked about any criminal convictions you have, although different policies and procedures are in place depending on the education provider you want to learn with and the type of the course you wish to take. If asked it is important you understand whether or not you need to declare any convictions you have. You may be asked to declare what are referred to as relevant 'unspent' criminal convictions or punishments, this may be done as part of an application form or during an interview. Whether a conviction is spent or not depends on the rehabilitation period for the offence in question, although cautions, reprimands and final warnings are spent immediately (with the exception of conditional cautions). The rehabilitation period for a criminal conviction depends on the age you were at the time of your conviction and the sentence you received. Even if you have a relevant unspent criminal conviction you will not be automatically barred from taking a course but the learning provider will usually assess whether you pose a risk. By and large, learning providers are not legally allowed to ask you about convictions that are spent and these do not need to be declared. However, there are exceptions to this. If you are applying for a course that involves training leading to a job that is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (for example jobs in health and social care) then you will be asked to declare all relevant convictions that are not protected (or filtered out). These types of courses usually require you to undergo a criminal record or DBS check (through the Barring and Disclosure Service). If you are not sure whether you need to disclose a criminal conviction or want advice on the best way to inform an education provider about a conviction then NACRO offers some detailed advice. NACRO also run their own learning opportunities that might be of interest to you.

Detailed advice on applying for learning opportunities with a criminal conviction:

Education and training on NACRO

NACRO provides telephone and email advice for people with criminal records. You can call them on 0300 123 1999 during office hours. You can also email them on helpline@nacro.org.uk.


 Applying to higher education

If you are applying to a higher education provider through the a centralised application system, such as UCAS (which is used for most full time and some part time courses) you will be asked to complete information about relevant, unspent criminal convictions. This information is then passed on to the universities of your choice. If applying directly to a HE provider for a course you are likely to be asked a similar question on the institution's application form. If you have an unspent conviction you will not be automatically barred from taking a course but the institution will assess whether you pose a risk and make a decision on whether a place can be offered. You are likely to need to provide detailed information about your conviction for this assessment to take place. Whether a conviction is spent or not depends on the rehabilitation period for the offence in question, although cautions, reprimands and final warnings are spent immediately (with the exception of conditional cautions). The rehabilitation period for a criminal conviction depends on the age you were at the time of your conviction and the sentence you received. By and large, HE institutions are not legally allowed to ask you about convictions that are spent and these do not need to be declared. However, there are exceptions to this. If you are applying for a course that involves training leading to a job that is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (for example in health and social care or teaching) then you will be asked to declare all relevant convictions that are not protected (or filtered out). These types of courses usually require you to undergo a criminal record or DBS check (through the Barring and Disclosure Service). If you are not sure whether you need to disclose a criminal conviction or want advice on the best way to inform an institution about a conviction then NACRO offers some detailed advice.

Advice on applying for HE opportunities with a criminal conviction:

Applying to university on Nacro

NACRO provides telephone and email advice for people with criminal records. You can call them on 0300 123 1999 during office hours. You can also email them on helpline@nacro.org.uk. When applying for HE courses you may wish to contact the provider in advance and ask if they have a policy for dealing with applications with a criminal conviction (sometimes this can be found on their website or their admissions service will be able to help). Having this in advance will help you present information about yourself and the nature of your offence in the best possible way.

 Support for learners with disabilities

Whether or not you tell a learning provider about a disability or health condition is up to you. Most ask for this information when you apply or register but what information you share is your decision. However, if you have a disability then you may need support to ensure you can complete your course or training programme. For example, you may need specialist equipment or extra time to complete assignments. You may also need help with transport if your programme is delivered face to face. It is therefore important to think carefully about the different learning options open to you if you need support then you should talk directly to the learning provider to find out what they can do to help. Most have someone to discuss your needs with and help to draw up a support plan, this is usually someone in learning or disability support. If your learning is likely to include time spent in the workplace it is important that your needs are considered in the working environment and discussions with any employer need to take place. The earlier you talk to your learning provider the better as it can take time to assess your needs and put the support in place. Sometimes there are costs involved in ensuring you have the support you need and how this is funded does depend on the type of course you are taking and your age. If you are taking a further or adult education course then the college has additional money to pay for reasonable adjustments. This funding is usually called Additional Learning Support. If you find that your needs are not likely to be meet by the usual education providers then there are specialist education and training providers that you may wish to consider. Finally, if you are receiving benefits it is important to find out if taking a course has an impact on this. By and large part time courses will not affect income related benefits but it is important that you check this.

1. Useful guide to disclosing a disability when applying for education:

Telling people you’re disabled on Disability UK

2. Disability Rights UK home page for education and skills.  Lots of great advice and fact sheets to download, including information about benefits and other financial support:

Education and skills on Disability UK

3.  A guide to Further Education by Disability Rights UK:

Funding further education for disabled students

Contact the learning provider you would like to study with and ask to talk to someone about support they can provide. Many providers have useful information online about what they can offer and who to contact. Disability Rights UK run a disabled students helpline for those aged 16 plus studying in England. Call 0800 328 5050 between 11am-1pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays or email: students@disabilityrightsuk.org.


 Higher education courses

Whether or not you tell a HE provider about a disability or health condition is up to you. If you are applying to HE using a centralised application system (for example UCAS - which is used for most full and some part time courses) then you will be asked about the nature of any disability (including mental health condition or learning disability) and the support you may need and this information will be passed over to the individual HE providers. If you are applying directly to a HE institution then it is likely you will be asked about any disability on their application form. It is important to think about the benefits of disclosing your disability when applying to HE. It is important to remember that universities and colleges are very inclusive and are set up to help you where they can. Most importantly, disclosing your disability will help you to arrange any support you need before you start your course. For example, you may need specialist equipment or extra time to complete assignments. You may also need help with transport if your programme is delivered face to face or with accommodation if you plan to stay on campus or attend residential provision. All HE providers will have someone to discuss your needs with and advise on how you can have your needs assessed. This is usually a disability or learning support adviser. If your course is likely to include time spent in the workplace it is important that your needs are considered in the working environment and discussions with any employer need to take place. The earlier you talk to HE providers about your disability the better, how they respond can influence your final decisions about what and where to study and early contact will make sure there is time to assess your needs and put the support in place. Sometimes there are costs involved in ensuring you have the support you need and this is currently funded through Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs), which is money to cover any support identified during your needs assessment. However, this way of funding support is currently under review (with the plan for HE providers to cover costs of support) so you will need to keep updated using the recommended websites and advice services provided below. If your needs are complex then there are specialist education and training providers that you may wish to consider. Finally, if you are receiving benefits it is important to find out if taking a course has an impact on this. By and large part time courses will not affect income related benefits but it is important that you check this. Full time courses are likely to impact on benefit entitlement and again it is important you understand the implications of this and are given help to work out what funding you are entitled to as a disabled learner.

1. Useful guide to disclosing a disability when applying for education:

Telling people you’re disabled on Disabilty Rights UK

2. Disability Rights UK home page for education and skills.  Lots of great advice and fact sheets to download:

Education and skills on Disability Rights UK

3. Overview of DSA for those applying for HE courses:

Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) on Gov.uk

4.  A guide from UCAS for disabled people interested in HE:

Students with disabilities on UCAS

Contact the University or college you would like to study with and ask to talk to someone about support they can provide. Many providers have useful information online about what they can offer and who to contact. Disability Rights UK run a disabled students helpline for those aged 16 plus studying in England. Call 0800 328 5050 between 11am-1pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays or email: students@disabilityrightsuk.org.

 Non UK Qualifications

It is becoming more common for people living in the UK to hold qualifications from other countries. If you are thinking about taking a course for which there are entry requirements you may need to know how yours compare UK qualifications. Education providers may vary in their knowledge of your qualification(s) and how they compare to the UK based system. Universities and large colleges may well have lots of experience in dealing with these queries and may have useful information online (often found in the international student section of their website), others may not have a process in place for assessing your application. In this instance the emphasis will be on you to present your qualifications in a way that best helps the staff at the institution you wish to attend. It may be helpful therefore for you to get a

1. The NARIC site will take you through the steps needed to apply for a statement of comparability:

NARIC Services for individuals

2. A detailed site for advice on immigration and visas:

Visas on Gov.uk

1. Talk to your preferred education provider and discuss your individual situation, they will be able to advise whether you are eligible for courses and whether your existing non UK qualifications have an impact on the type of course that is right for you. 2. The National Careers Service provide telephone and face to face advice for adults across the UK and it may be worthwhile finding out what support they can provide for you. Call them on 0800 100 900. Lines are open 8am

 Careers Advice

One of the main reasons for learning is to help develop your career, whether that is about advancing in your current job or taking a new direction. If you are thinking of changing your career path then spending some time researching your options is important. The National Careers Website is a great place to start if you want to do research online, they provide profiles of all jobs and general career planning tools. You can also get one to one help from the National Careers Service either through their helpline or through their network of local advisers. Local education providers may also have someone you can talk to about careers and course choices, they may also be able to tell you about the employment prospects for those completing a course they have on offer. If you have a clear direction about the path you want to take but you are not sure on the best path for you then finding out what skills, knowledge and qualifications employers want is important - you will want to make sure the courses you are considering are valued in the job market. You can do this by looking at job vacancies online or in newspapers. Looking at the webpages of a recruitment agency is also useful as there are a number of vacancies advertised together and you can see if there are any common job requirements.

Professional bodies are another source of support, their web pages can give an insight into what is happening within a particular field of work and there is often detailed information about the requirements of a particular job. The National Careers Service website has good links to relevant professional bodies. If you are looking to progress at work then talking to your employer is a important first step, they can help you understand what routes are available and what additional skills or qualifications you will need to gain before you could be considered for a new role. They may even be able to support you financially to undertake further study or perhaps give you a chance to get some work experience or shadowing. Talking directly to people in the role you are interested in can help, although remember there are usually a number of different routes into any career so finding the right opportunity for you is what counts. Finally choosing the right course or right subject is also important if you are wanting to gain entry to a higher level programme of study. For example if you wish to take a certain degree subject then making sure your access course or other pre-entry qualifications are accepted is crucial. Using UCAS profiles or the provider's online prospectus for this can help but you will probably need to contact the admissions department directly for individual advice.

1. The National Careers Service website provides up to date job profiles, career planning advice and lots of useful links for further research (including links to professional bodies):

National Careers Service

2. Information about using recruitment agencies, contains a searchable database of recruitment agencies so you can find one relevant to you:

Recruitment & Employment Confederation

3. General information about entry requirements for HE or use their online course search tool and look at course entry profiles to get more detailed information:

UCAS entry requirements

1. The National Careers Service provide telephone and face to face advice for adults across the UK and it may be worthwhile finding out what support they can provide for you. Call them on 0800 100 900. Lines are open 8am