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
- building and construction
- business management
- childcare and early years
- environmental conservation
- health and social care
- horticulture and forestry
- manufacturing technologies
- mathematics and statistics
- medicine and dentistry
- public services
- 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!