Our favourite free courses
Jane McGuire

Our favourite free courses

Free courses and free taster courses

First published date November 02 2011 Amended date October 21 2014

Here at Hotcourses we believe that the best things in life really are free and that this should include learning. There is nothing like trying before you buy and going along to a taster session to find out more about a subject. To help you on your way we have scoured the website for our five favourite free courses. From creating a website to learning the art of life drawing, there really are some great freebies out there if you know where to look. Because our providers are continuously updating their courses, these options might not be around forever, so we have also written some top tips to finding free courses to help you out. Sounds too good to be true, we thought so too.

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As adult learners, we often like to understand exactly what we are letting ourselves in for and there is no better way of doing this by trying a free or taster course.


1. For work or play – if you dream of starting your own business, the chances are you won’t have a lot of money to spare learning about social enterprise and creating a website. Lucky for you Morley College over some taster sessions to get you going.


2. Art attack - If you are already a quirky cool London art student, why not try the free life drawing class at The Princes Drawing School? A great addition to your portfolio without asking your friends to pose in the nude.


3. Press or print - If you dream of being a high flying journalist, the free journalism workshop from News Associates gives you a money-can’t-buy insight into the industry. During the three hour session you will learn from experts and get individualised career advice.


4. Rest and relaxation - If you are interested in massage, but you cannot find anyone to practise on, a taster workshop in massage and reflexology could be the kick start you need. Pop along to Middlesex School of Complementary Medicine to find out what’s involved in becoming a qualified therapist.


5. Flower power - If flowers are your thing, but every course you have found looks a little pricey, why not get a feel for it with a free flower arranging taster from North Hertfordshire College.


What if I don’t like these suggestions?

As we mentioned, course providers are always adding more courses and running tasters, so to keep checking, type ‘free’ into the search bar and get browsing. Remember double check before signing up as examples such as ‘free hand’ or ‘gluten free’ will also appear in this search!


Pop along to Adult Learners’ Week

You might not have heard, but every year around June ‘Adult Learners’ Week’ comes to town. A national celebration of lifelong learning, the week has its award ceremony and promotes trying something new. As  part of the ‘festival of learning’ there are over 3000 ‘have a go’ activities held by providers, so this is a good time to get a free taster. To find out more, take a look at the Adult Learners’ Week website and put some dates in your diary for next year.


Act your age

Arguably the luckiest age group around, if you are aged 16-19 you can often get a lot of courses for free. It’s worth noting that even if a course says it’s free, if you are over 19 you should check with the course provider, particularly with longer courses or those offering a qualification. Do not lose hope though! If you are aged 19-23 you can often get some sort of concession from the government, which can often be up to 50% of the course.


Find out more about scholarships and bursaries

Those handy things most of us forget! Although this technically doesn’t make the course free, someone else will be paying the fees for you so it will definitely feel like it is. If you get exceptionally high grades you can often be eligible for a scholarship, meaning the institution will pay some or all of the fees for you. What’s a bursary? Bursaries are kind of similar to a scholarship but generally provided to students with a low income background.


Be a savvy blogger

If you are a fashion or lifestyle blogger with a social media following, talking to providers and reviewing courses for your followers could be a way in for free. Explain to the provider that having them on board would be a way to get their course noticed. If you do get the chance to go along for free, make sure you take pictures or videos and write a review worth reading.


So what are you waiting for? Try something free today and get learning!


Updated 08.10.14



Jane McGuire

Jane McGuire received her BA (English) from the University of Loughborough. A yoga enthusiast with a sweet tooth, in her spare time you will probably find Jane in the gym or online shopping.