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Planning Your Learning

There are many benefits to doing some learning as an adult, including:

  • Helping you to make a change in your life
  • Progressing your career
  • Improving your employment prospects
  • Providing a new challenge

We recommended you think about the following to help you to decide which option is right for you.

Do I want to improve my qualifications?
You will improve your skills and confidence through taking part in learning. Doing a course that leads to a qualification can help to show employers and others what you have achieved, if that’s important to you. Find out more about the different levels of accredited qualifications and types of learning

If you are unsure what direction to go in, why not try the National Careers Service’s online skills healthcheck tool which will help you to decide what job might suit you, or what skills you might need to brush up on.

Is higher education for me?
If you already have some Level 3 qualifications you can use these to apply to higher education, or even if you don’t have many qualifications you can apply for a place by using your skills and experience as a basis for getting on a course. Or you can prepare for studying at higher education level by taking a special course. Many courses are available to adults without any existing qualifications.

How will learning fit into my lifestyle?
There is a wide range of flexible learning options available to you that are designed to help you to fit learning alongside your other commitments, click here for a description of different modes of learning. If you are in work don’t forget to check with your employer whether they will offer support if you choose a course or qualification relevant to your role. Even if they can’t pay for a course they may be willing to allow you some time off to study or attend sessions.

How do I check what courses are available?
There are lots of different types of learning courses available. If you are looking for flexible learning options a good place to start is by searching online for your local college and university, or through the National Careers Service website.

What about the cost?
The different options have different cost implications. The advice section of this website gives more information, or use our 'Advise Me' tool to find out about the funding options associated with different types of learning. There are lots of free short courses available, or for longer periods of learning you may be able to qualify for a student loan. Depending on your personal circumstances, grants and bursaries may also be available, which give extra financial support if you meet the criteria, especially for higher education courses.

How do I get started?
This website has a 'Advise Me' tool which is designed to help you identify and compare some of the learning options available to you. It offers advice and tools that can help you get started.