woman studying online course
Career advice, Career change, Career coach, career information

Fancy a career change, but worried about the cost of retraining? We check out the government’s new Lifetime Skills Guarantee qualification offer.. And we think it’s pretty exciting..

Things appear to be looking rather rosy if you’re wanting to get qualified or retrain since the government launched qualifications you can do for free as part of the new Lifetime Skills Guarantee. 

But I’ll be honest, ever since the government announced they were putting together an offer to pay for adults in England to retrain, I did secretly wonder if there might be too many hoops to jump through or a list of eligibility criteria so complicated that most people would fall short of benefitting from it. However, having looked at what’s on offer, I have to say I’m feeling quite optimistic about the possibilities opening up for people of any age who are ready to retrain, career change or boost their job prospects, and all without the financial burden of the cost of qualification. What’s not to like?.. Here’s the low down on the new Lifetime Skills Guarantee qualification offer.. 

So, what’s the offer?

Until now, free college level study has only been available to the under 19’s (and in some cases under 25’s). The government has now opened up the free to study offer to all ages, so if you missed the boat the first time around, now’s the time to grab it back. You can study a full, accredited, level 3 qualification that’s fully funded by the government. 

What’s the catch?

There is no catch, but to be eligible for the funding you can’t have already completed a full level 3 qualification – not sure if you have a level 3 qualification? check here. There may be other eligibility requirements to get on a free course depending on what you want to study, but it looks like there are no means testing or benefits driven requirements to access the courses.   

What can I study?

A generous range of Level 3 courses have initially been launched from a credible selection of awarding bodies including AQA, AAT, NCFE, OCR, Pearson and many others, and over time more courses are likely to become available. Currently, there are over 400 free courses across England, covering different subjects, which include:

  • accounting and finance
  • agriculture
  • building and construction
  • business management
  • childcare and early years
  • digital
  • engineering
  • environmental conservation
  • health and social care
  • horticulture and forestry
  • manufacturing technologies
  • mathematics and statistics
  • medicine and dentistry
  • public services
  • science
  • teaching and lecturing
  • transportation operations and maintenance
  • warehousing and distribution

Will I need to go to college full-time?

Whilst many of the courses are likely to require attending a local college or training provider, according to the GOV website, some of the courses can be completed online or part-time, so it’s definitely worth checking out, even if you think a full-time course might be tricky for you.

How will I benefit from doing one of the courses?

The courses listed are included because the government has identified demands in the labour market that need to be filled and the qualifications on offer are selected to tie in with this, so are very much relevant. Of course, gaining a qualification is only part of the career progression jigsaw, but whether you’re after a new career or feel it’s time to progress at work, completing a level 3 accredited qualification can certainly help you on your way to achieving this. 

How do I find out more?

Have a look at the GOV website to find out more about what’s on offer and how to apply. Having looked through the list of training providers across England, the qualifications are being delivered by local colleges and training providers across the main regions of; East Midlands, East of England, London, North East, North West, South East, South West, West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, so it’s likely there’s access to a training provider for most. 

My advice.. if you are ready to study and haven’t already completed a full level 3 accredited qualification, it’s certainly worth checking out what courses are available in your area. Good luck! 

Career change, Career coach, CV tips

Free Online Courses: One of the most powerful things you can do today to boost your CV, job prospects and kick start your career change

Author: Zoe Hendricks (MA CEd & C, RCDP MCDI)

Just so you know, this is not an advert and I’m (unfortunately) not on any commission! I just want to share something with you that I’ve noticed is making a big impact for my clients, so here it is.. 

OK, I know you’re stuck in lockdown, maybe furloughed, out of work, or just plain fed up in  your job. Maybe you daydream about doing something completely different, imagining a career you think you could have done.. should have done.. if only you could turn back the clock.. Afterall, it would cost you too much to start learning new skills now, right?…. Wrong.

It costs nothing and you can start right away

I’m still surprised by the number of people I see who are in the dark about one of the most potent ways to supercharge your CV or gear up for a long awaited career change – and it costs absolutely nothing and you can start right away. 

I’m talking about the explosion of brilliant free courses available now online, often offered up by credible global organisations and universities. Upskilling, learning and education has never been easier, and done from the comfort of your sofa.

As a career coach, I often encourage clients to explore free online courses that might help them and I have noticed those who do take advantage often significantly improve their prospects through a boost to their knowledge, skills and confidence.

So exactly what can you study for free?

In terms of what you can learn, it’s pretty mind blowing. You can choose from a wide range of subjects, many of which are highly relevant to today’s job market, or could simply meet your needs for personal development, creativity or knowledge. 

I’ve been taking a look at some of the free courses being offered and there really are far too many to mention. However, to give you a flavour of what you can study for free, subjects include social care, psychology, health and education, or HR, marketing and business. Or maybe choose to skill up on languages, nature, history or the arts. Fancy studying science, maths, technology or perhaps society, politics and law. 

Maybe you’re interested in learning something specific such as Counselling Skills, Holistic Therapy, Engineering, Cyber Security or Artificial Intelligence, or want to boost your Leadership or People Management skills, or perhaps help young people in education, or better support those with mental health challenges. There’s Food and Nutrition, Financial Markets, Project Management courses.. and the list really does go on..

Are free courses good for career development?

There are some careers that demand specific, accredited qualifications, that’s a given. However, many of these free courses are designed to help you upskill, build your awareness or knowledge, or teach you new competencies that are in line with current demands in industry. Any course you decide to undertake not only builds your knowledge, but is a great addition to your CV or LinkedIn profile. It can demonstrate to a potential employer that you are interested and committed to developing your skills and knowledge in that area.

Let me ask you this, if you were responsible for interviewing someone for a job, and they’d just completed a course relevant to the job or the business, would you see this as a benefit? Of course you would!

It is also worth bearing in mind that some free courses offer a similar version to the paid for ‘accredited’ qualification, so you learn the same content. It is often the accreditation process that costs training providers, which you can end up paying for in the price of the course. 

Use free courses to explore career change

Another fantastic use for free courses is when you are exploring a career change, you can find out so much more about different careers or jobs you think may interest you. You might take a course and realise that particular career choice isn’t really for you.. Or perhaps you love what you are learning, which ignites that spark of inspiration and motivation you need to take the next steps.

Where do I find free online courses?

Feeling fired up to get started on learning something new? I’ve taken the hard work away for you and explored some of the current top course providers offering free courses right now, You can thank me later..

OpenLearn (Free learning from the Open University) www.open.edu/openlearn/free-courses/full-catalogue

Reed (Jobs and online UK courses) www.reed.co.uk/courses/free

Future Learn (University and Industry expert courses) www.futurelearn.com/

Edx (Founded by Harvard University) www.edx.org

Alison (Free online courses from world leading experts www.alison.com 

Coursera (Courses from universities and businesses) www.coursera.org 

UK Learns, Pearson (Leading educational organisation) uklearns.pearson.com

Oxford Home study (Home learning provider) www.oxfordhomestudy.com/free-online-courses-with-certificates

*A little tip: Some providers offer both free and paid for courses, but just search ‘free courses’ in the website search box to uncover all the free stuff.

Hope this has inspired you to have a go at a course, and don’t forget to add it to your CV, on your job applications, mention it in your next appraisal! It really is never too late to learn.  

Career change, Career coach, Outplacement, Redundancy

WorkClever Launches Covid-19 Career Support Service for Employees

In response to the Covid-19 crisis, WorkClever Career Coaching have launched a career support service to help organisations positively manage unplanned career changes for their employees. 

It is, without doubt, an unsettling time for us all right now. Many people across the UK face job loss, work or financial uncertainty. Organisations at the coal face of this epidemic have been catapulted into sudden and unwanted situations, which left very little time to prepare. Many businesses have had little choice than to adapt very quickly to design and deliver workforce change, roll out redundancy initiatives or deal with the strange, twilight-zone-world of ‘furlough’.

Confused, uncertain and worried employees

People within these organisations are dealing with unexpected change to their work situation through furlough, redundancy or illness. Vulnerable employees in self isolation have no choice but to cut off from the safety of their colleagues and usual work environments. Many individuals are feeling confused, uncertain and worried about what lies ahead.

A friendly, listening ear and helping hand

To support these organisations and the people affected, WorkClever Careers are providing a career support service to enable businesses to offer an extra tier of support to employees facing change, uncertainty or redundancy.

The support service connects individuals through video or telephone with a professional career coach offering a friendly listening ear and helping hand, to provide a wellbeing check and careers information, advice, and guidance to address obstacles employees may encounter during periods of change at work. 

Organisations who offer this service can protect their employer brand, boost morale and support positive organisational change, whilst truly supporting employees who are left to cope with job change, redundancy or uncertainty.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help your organisation, contact us at: