Free Courses for Jobs: The Department for Education

28 October 2021

If you’re looking for a fresh start, a better job or to progress in your current role, there are now more opportunities available to help you build your skills and get your working life back on track after the pandemic. 

Coronavirus has had a huge impact on all our lives. Whilst we’ve faced challenges,  the pandemic has also helped many of us discover new ways of working and it may have prompted you to think about your  options and how to get the greatest satisfaction from work. Although some industries have been more affected than others, there are businesses across the country that have continued to grow. Now we are on the road to recovery, it’s a great time to look forward and take advantage of new job opportunities, by getting the skills you need to stand out in the jobs market. 

If you’re currently thinking about getting into a new sector, upskilling to progress in work, increasing your earning potential, or boosting your job security – why not take the plunge and go for it? There are lots of options available to help you gain the skills you need to get there. 

A brighter future with better jobs

As part of its Plan for Jobs, the Government is working to make sure you are able to get the training and skills you need throughout your life, in a way that suits you. 

Skills and work go hand-in-hand, so whether you are looking for a quick course where you can gain sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer, or would prefer to take a qualification, covering the essential subjects to help you get into a new role, there are a range of options available to help you achieve your goals. 

Free qualifications for jobs

If you are 24 and over and do not yet have A levels or equivalent, you can now take your first level 3 qualification for free, building on the offer already available to 19-23 year olds.  There are hundreds of free Level 3 qualifications which can help you gain new skills and improve your job prospects. 

Taking one of these free courses could open doors to better jobs, which might mean a higher salary, or more flexible working patterns to support your family. There are a wide range of subjects available, including accountancy, construction, health and social care and more. 

Skills that are in-demand by employers

The free courses on offer have been identified to help you gain the skills that employers are looking for, so you can feel confident knowing you’ve chosen a course that will help you get a job. 

And rest assured, gaining new skills doesn’t mean the skills you’ve gained to date will be wasted. As Debs Carter, who took a Level 3 qualification in Land and Wildlife Management, reflects: “I quickly found that the skills I had gained from previous roles were also transferable and valuable. One of the great advantages of learning later in life is being able to partner your new skills with your wealth of experience and existing skills.”

A better salary

Studying for a free qualification can also help increase your earning potential. For example, a Diploma in Fabrication and Welding Techniques and Skills could lead to a job as a welder, where you could earn £27,000. Or you could earn £22,000 as an Assistant Accountant if you decided to take the Advanced Diploma in Accounting. So whether you’re looking to progress in your current sector or want to get started in a new industry, a Level 3 qualification could help you earn a higher wage. 

Gary Oates wasn’t earning what he wanted. After chatting to the electricians on the maintenance team he worked in, he realised that he would enjoy doing a similar role to them and he could also earn more as a qualified electrician. After taking a Level 3 course in Electrotechnical Systems and Equipment, Gary says: “The qualification helped me take the next step to a better job where I earn more, and it has given me and my family more security.”

Flexible learning to suit you

There are a number of shorter and part time courses available, making it easier to fit learning around a busy life. Plus, these free qualifications can be taken at different points in the year, depending on your local provider’s course schedule, so you can take advantage when the time is right for you. Explore options that fit with your life and priorities.

Carrie Abbott’s Level 3 Childcare course was delivered at her children’s school. “It was the perfect fit for me”, Carrie said. “It meant I could work and study at the school, whilst still managing my childcare.” 

If you’re looking for a job that works well with your childcare or other commitments, taking a free qualification could also help you move into a role that works better for you. 

Move into a role that excites you

You might have heard the saying “if you love what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life.” Perhaps you feel it’s time to pursue your long-held interests and find a job you would enjoy more.

If you have worked in the same area for years, it can feel hard to change your path, but the reality can be a lot less daunting than you think. Taking a free Level 3 qualification can be the first step into an exciting new line of work.

Building on your strengths and pursuing your ambitions with a qualification could get you on the path to a better job. Find a course for you.

Skills Bootcamps

Skills Bootcamps are flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving you the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer. There’s a range of digital courses and technical skills courses on offer in areas like construction or engineering.

Developed in partnership with employers, learning providers and local authorities, Skills Bootcamps can help you develop the skills that are in demand in your local area and get a better job.

Digital skills for your future

A Skills Bootcamp could help you learn digital skills to help you progress in work or gain a new job. Digital skills are more in demand than ever before – both in the tech sector and beyond. Gaining these skills can help when applying for a vast array of jobs across different sectors – in fact, 82% of all job openings online request digital skills. 

While digital skills are important for all kinds of jobs, they are also in high demand for digital specialist roles. The number of digital jobs has grown three times as quickly as other occupations in recent years, so there are plenty of opportunities available. And salaries for digital roles also tend to be 36% higher than average. After completing a Skills Bootcamp in digital skills, you will be able to interview for a digital-focused role, and if you don’t gain this position – you can feel reassured that you have a specific set of skills that can help you apply for a range of roles, in areas like software development, digital marketing and data analytics. 

Technical skills

A number of Skills Bootcamps deliver technical skills that are essential in sectors like construction and engineering. The courses can help you to build on existing skills as well as teaching you new ones. For example, according to the Construction Industry Training Board problem solving, time management and communication are actually in the top 15 most used skills in construction.

And key sectors such as construction and engineering need skilled workers – 48% of job vacancies requiring a skilled tradesperson are hard to fill for skills-related reasons, so it’s a great time to learn new skills and take advantage of this increased demand and opportunity.

Plus jobs in technical roles can be for anyone. More than eight in ten women working in engineering are happy with their career choice and almost three quarters of employers in the engineering sector say that they offer arrangements for older workers to help them stay in the company.