Easy ways to learn new skills
Easy ways to learn new skills
Want to help shape your career direction, boost your confidence and discover new talents? Take a look at these free and low-cost ways to learn new skills and get ahead.
If you want to learn a new skill the good news is there are loads of learning options at your fingertips and lots of them are free or offer a free trial. A quick online search is a good place to start, but here are a few ideas to get you going:
- Not just the home of cute cats, YouTube is packed with useful stuff too. Check out free how-to films and tutorials on subjects ranging from Photoshop to pattern-cutting
- Do you struggle with figures? If you didn’t like maths at school, it can be annoying to discover it does have its uses. The National Numeracy Challenge helps you learn the maths needed for everyday life – from checking you’ve been paid to estimating time. Take the challenge check-up to identify the skills you need to work on, then follow the learning guide and reach your target
- Want to boost your digital skills? Treehouse offers online courses in web design, coding and business and has a free 7-day trial
- Online networking platform LinkedIn offers a one-month free trial of LinkedIn Learning with courses in business, technology and creative skills
- Skillshare offers bite-sized online learning classes in subjects including design, cookery, technology and craft and has a 7-day free trial
Free online courses from top universities
Ready to get your teeth into something a little more weighty? Try a Massive Open Online Course – also known as a MOOC. These free online courses from top universities give you the chance to try a subject and learn wherever and whenever suits you. Courses are short – two to three hours a week over three to six weeks is fairly typical – and are suitable for beginners. There’s no shortage of subjects – options include robotics, fairy tales and Dutch, as well as practical options such as writing job applications. Find out more at Future Learn or The Open University’s OpenLearn.
Always fancied carpentry? Want to work in marketing? A short practical course can be a great low-risk way to try something out or to boost your existing skills.
Colleges and community centres usually run a variety of short courses. Your local library should have information about what’s on in your area or see Find Courses for local evening and part-time courses in anything from DIY to programming. You may have to pay for courses, but sometimes help with fees is available. Speak to the course provider to find out more.
Local networks or festivals often run free talks and workshops. Keep an eye out in local newspapers, free magazines or websites for details of what’s on near you.
And don’t forget volunteering is a great way to try something out, learn something new and do something worthwhile – all at the same time.
Ask a friend, relative or colleague
Learning is not just about training courses and study, sometimes you learn the most from those around you. In fact, you’re probably surrounded by people only too willing to share their know-how.
Start off by tapping into your network – perhaps your next-door neighbour is a whiz on Excel or your friend’s mum would be more than happy to give you a crash course in budgeting. Think about who you know who could help, and ask nicely!
If you’re already in work, ask your manager or a colleague to explain something to you, take you to a meeting or show you what they’re working on. You’ll be surprised what you can pick up and where it can lead…
Find out more
Find out more about OpenLearn with our short Q&A.
From personal careers advice to finding work, see our round-up of
useful websites to help you on your way