You can boost your job prospects for free by learning a new skill, language or set of facts.
There are lots of really useful learning resources online that are totally free and very easy to use. And the number is growing!
There are colleges, universities and voluntary organisations that will share knowledge and skills over the internet without demanding a fee. Take a few of these and you will immediately have a better-looking CV.
- Learn at BBC Online
- Vision2Learn for computing, money skills and lots more
- OpenLearn for arts, history, business, languages, IT and science
- University Lecture Podcasts
- Best of the Rest
- Affordable degrees online with RDI
The BBC offers free online courses on a huge range of subjects, from horticulture to Japanese, all totally free.
Their language section includes games, videos, dictionaries and online tests to help you gauge your level. You can even follow the BBC’s own online soap operas in different languages.
For many of their courses the BBC provides extensive links to its news, documentaries and radio programmes as well to help you on your way.
This Vision2Learn site offers courses in a lot of skills including computer skills, sports coaching, money skills and business skills and can lead to a recognised NVQ qualification which should certainly improve your job prospects.
Vision2Learn courses are funded by the Learning and Skills Council which means that the courses are normally free of charge to anyone who:
- Is over the age of 16
- Currently lives in England
- Has been ordinarily resident in the EU/UK for three years or more, as long as this residency has been for purposes other than full-time study.
If you are in any of these brackets you should be able to study for free.
You’ll also receive help from an online tutor employed by a college in your local area. Once you have logged on to your study area, you can contact your tutor by using V-mail, vision2Learn’s own internal messaging system.
Run by the Open University, OpenLearn is a free online learning site which uses materials taken from Open University courses, at both undergraduate and graduate level.
You don’t have to be or become an Open University student to access it.
These materials do not count towards an Open University qualification, but are pretty useful if you want to supplement your current learning or if you just want to get a flavour of what the OU has on offer.
You do not have to register, but doing so will allow you to tailor your learning to your needs. Courses covered include the arts, history, business, languages, IT and science.
Not many of us can attend (or afford to attend) lectures at prestigious universities.
But the good news is that many of them are now broadcasting their lectures as podcasts and mp3 recordings and allowing anyone to download and listen to them for free.
These universities use something called OpenCourseWare (OCW) to allow access to lectures and learning materials to anyone with an internet connection.
The courses cover both undergraduate and graduate level.
There are no course credits provided and you won’t be able to ask any questions but it’s still a great way to expand your knowledge in your chosen field or supplement your existing course.
Some universities have established entire online schools, like Colorado State’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute which anyone can take a look at.
There’s also FutureLearn, a UK site which has free online courses from over 40 universities, used by over 3.6 million learners worldwide.
Home and Learn
To do free online computer courses in Word, Excel, Powerpoint and web design, try Home and Learn. This site offers free online tuition and you can register to take online tests – if you pass they even send you a framed certificate.
This crowdsourced collection of lectures from professionals, academia, governments, and leaders are available on Reddit.
This is for entrepreneurs looking to build the skills that are most likely to help them succeed. Check out the workshops and other resources offered for free on the site.
MIT Open Courseware
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers totally free courses in computer programming including an introduction to computer programming course that’s fantastic for entrepreneurs and beginners.
Need a textbook but can’t afford the fee. You can often buy it secondhand on eBay, Amazon or your own college shop or you can get for free on Boundless. It’s online so you can’t put it on the shelf but then you’re supposed to be reading it, not storing it!
Resource Development International (RDI) is a great way to gain a degree via distance learning and boost your job prospects without blowing the bank.
The courses aren’t free but RDI claim their fees are 30-50% lower than other universities with student loans available and payment plans that’ll see you graduate without any debt!
The great thing about a distance learning course is that you can fit it around your existing lifestyle – you choose when, how and where you study.
RDI has loads of useful courses including Business & Management, Finance & Accounting, Law and IT. These will give you a credible qualification that will give your job prospects a massive boost.