Generally, if you’re thinking about taking any type of course, you’ll probably also be considering the financial implications of it and how you will be able to afford to take up studying. Whether you’re doing a part time evening course or leaving your job to study full time, the money side of things is definitely worth paying some thought to (pardon the pun!).
All is not lost though if you’re looking at the sums and realising they’re not quite adding up. In fact, there are quite a few free training courses available where you will not have to pay a penny for your fees and, depending on what your personal circumstances are, the options can be really varied…
Free training courses in reading, writing and arithmetic
Courses in basic reading, writing and maths are, more often than not, free to everyone. Age or personal circumstances are not taken into account with these, but it’s likely that you will only need to take these courses if you particularly struggle with reading, writing or maths. For example, if you’ve completed an English GCSE you won’t need to take such a basic course. These courses are usually to help adult learners who failed to get relevant qualifications when they were young but would like to progress further in the workplace.
Free training courses if you’re aged 16-24
At the moment, if you are 16, approaching the end of your school days and looking for a place in further education, you are guaranteed one for free when you finish. It’s worth running a search for the local colleges and sixth forms offering free courses in further education near you to see what subjects you could take.
Most courses up to degree level for this age group are either free or subsidised. If you’re under 24 and taking your first course at level two or three (the same sort of level as GCSEs or A Levels) then this will usually be free whatever your circumstances. Most course providers will suggest getting in touch with them using the ‘Request info’ button on our site as they will be able to explain more about how to apply and which age groups qualify for free courses.
If you’re over 24 and can’t find any free training courses
You probably won’t qualify for free courses, but you may be entitled to other forms of financial help that could mean taking a course is not impossible. In 2010 a new scheme was introduced which gives you the right to time off of work for study or training if you haven’t got any level two qualifications already. You can apply for this scheme as long as you work in an organisation with more than 250 employees and you’ve worked there for at least 26 weeks before you apply for your course, this means you will still be paid for your time off to qualify. There is also a new scheme called 24+ loans, where you may be entitled to financial help with your fees, so don’t dismiss the idea as too expensive just yet.
Free taster courses
If you don’t think you qualify for a free course but hope to save up in the future, it’s worth looking out for the free taster courses that some course providers offer. This might mean a short version of a normal class or it might just be that you can come along and watch the people already signed up to the class and observe what they do.
Free training courses online
There are also lots of online courses that you don’t have to pay for, including free training courses that are run on YouTube or that involve receiving your work by email. You don’t have to be a pro at using computers to take these courses and you can run a search on our online homepage for subjects that interest you.
Our best advice when it comes to financing your studies is to explore all your options before hand. Start by running a search for the subject you’re interested in and checking to see if there are any free training courses or reduced options available. It’s also a good idea to check sites like GOV.UK or Scholarship Search to see if you can find other means of funding your study. Best of luck!
Jade will talk your ear off about rowing if you let her. She studied an MA and NCTJ diploma in Journalism at Brunel but her course-taking didn't stop there, having tried a number of different subjects since working here, even magic. Whether you're an expert who wants to share their knowledge, a student who's had a great experience or you just want to say hi, she'd love you to get in touch through our social media pages.