Five steps to finding the right course for you

Getting back into learning as an adult might feel a bit overwhelming at first. There are so many things to think about, but don’t panic! Taking the time to do some research can really help. Here are five simple steps to get you started.

1. Find a course

The first step is to make sure you’re choosing a course that’s relevant to the work you want to do. Find out what’s on offer in your local learning institutions, or go online and check out reputable websites that help you find adult learning courses.

You'll need to make sure your course is accredited, otherwise it may not be recognised by employers.

2. Find your level

Do you need to brush up on your skills or do something more advanced? Figure out what skills you need to develop and what qualifications employers are looking for by checking job descriptions. If a job asks for someone who’s a ‘team player’ or ‘shows initiative’, think of the times you’ve demonstrated these skills.

3. Where to study

You could study locally, at home via distance learning, or further afield. Find what works best for you and your situation. Make a list of courses and apply for more than one to keep your options open. Find out when the learning institutes are having open days/evenings and go along if you can to find out more information.

4. Costs

Once you’ve found the ideal course, you’ll need to think about how much it will all cost. Fees and extra living costs can add up – but there is help out there. From loans to benefits, grants, hardship funds and bursaries, have a look around and see what money you might be eligible for.

Often, the best source of advice is your training provider, but government websites are really helpful too.

5. Make your choice

Narrow it down. Make a list of courses you like, get as much information as you can and visit them where possible. See what they are like by looking on their website, viewing their prospectus and attending open days, then choose your favourite.

Some links to help you

To search for courses and jobs, visit National Careers Service and here for advice in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Accredited course providers will be listed on The Open and Distance Learning Quality Council (ODLQC) site, so you can check the credentials of a course before you sign up!

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