Education, qualifications, and funding
A variety of services and funding schemes are available for individuals looking to access further education:
Discretionary Learner Support (DLS): if you are aged 19 or over and are looking to study at a learning provider (e.g. a college) funded by the Skills Funding Agency, you are eligible for DLS. The learning provider decides how much you will receive, depending on your circumstances, and will also decide whether to provide the money in the form of a direct payment which you won’t have to pay back, a loan, or a payment made to someone else, such as a landlord.
More information can be found on the DLS website.
National Careers Service: If you’re over 16 and you’ve left school, you normally do not have to pay to do English or maths to GCSE level, English for speakers of other languages, or some ICT courses.
More information about this can found on the Department for Education’s website.
In addition, the National Careers Service website has a full list of available funding schemes listed by personal circumstances, and you can also call the National Careers Service helpline on 0800 100 900.
Family Action provides education grants to individuals over the age of 14 looking to participate in further education. Their website states:
‘Many individuals face challenges during their time at school which may mean they’re unable to complete their studies and pursue their future career goals. For others, their life situation may change meaning t hey need to re-train to gain employment that suits their family life.
‘Family Action’s Education Grants Programme helps individuals to begin their studies as well as supporting existing students to continue and complete their studies.’
More information about how to apply for a grant can be found on Family Action’s website.
EdX, Coursera and Udacity are websites offering free online courses and classes to anyone and everyone in a wide range of subject areas. The courses are often accredited by Universities and a range of other academic institutions.
Khan Academy offers free tests to teach people mathematics and programming skills, as well as educational videos covering a range of other subject areas – progressing from beginner to more advanced content. Similarly, websites like codeacademy and Code.org offer free online computer programming lessons.
The Open University offers free learning through OpenLearn. Further details and a list of all their free courses can be found on their website.
Local authority and council services
In addition to the above, many local authorities/councils run adult and family learning services. For details of the services that are available in your area, visit your local authority’s website.