Learning and education

Carers have as much right as anyone else to participate in learning and education. The Care Act introduced a general duty on local authorities to promote an individual’s ‘wellbeing’. Your wellbeing may be affected by not being able to participate in work, education, training or recreation. So if it is important to you to attend a course or further training, think about how it would benefit you and make sure you explain this at your carers assessment.

Why attend an educational course or further training?
As a carer I missed out on getting qualifications

I didn’t do well at school and feel scared at the thought of studying
I would like to do something creative, like music, photography or drama
Are there any training courses I can do at home?
I would like to attend a course in my local community
I would like to do a university level course
Courses aimed at improving your wellbeing
Can I get some help with training costs?
How can I feel more confident about my caring role?
I would like to do some training to help me get a job, but I don’t know what I could do?

Why attend an educational course or further training?

People undertake learning for all kinds of reasons; for enjoyment, to improve skills, gain qualifications and improve options for employment. It can be hard to find time to fit learning and education in when you are caring for someone and this can affect your wellbeing. If you want to do a course or some training it’s important that you have the opportunity to do this and there may be support to help you.

As a carer I missed out on getting qualifications

Its not too late to do qualifications or training. Its probably best to think about what you like doing and what you would like to do in the future and take one step at a time. You may find talking things through with someone helps you work out what you want and how to achieve it. There is so much information and so many options out there, it can feel a bit of a maze trying to work it our by yourself.

If you missed out on A levels, an Access to Higher Education course could help you get on a higher education course. Find out about local courses on the South Gloucestershire and Stroud college website or the City of Bristol college website.

If you are under 25, consider an apprenticeship to give you skills and experience in the workplace, You can find out about apprenticeships on the government website.

There are lots of places offering apprenticeships. Learn Direct a large national provider. South Gloucestershire and Stroud college and City of Bristol college also offer apprenticeships. 

I didn’t do well at school and feel scared at the thought of studying 

Lots of people don’t do well at school for all kinds of reasons. If you feel like this, there is support  to help you feel more confident. The Prince’s Trust runs courses and mentoring for young people.

Carers Support Centre offers guidance and support to young adult carers aged 16-25. We can help you explore what  you want to do and how to get there.

An Access to Higher Education course will give plenty of guidance and support with study skills such as essay writing, use of IT, research and preparing for exams. South Gloucestershire and Stroud college and City of Bristol college both offer courses locally.

N-gaged offer specialist pre employment and vocational training in areas like driving and hospitality.

Reform training and skills offer courses including construction, adult social care,  catering and retail.

You may need to brush up on skills you missed out on, like maths and English, and there are ways of doing this.

Learn Direct offer some free courses in maths, English, IT and skills for work. There are also many other courses  for which you have to pay.

Local colleges offer courses to help you improve maths and English, as well as other courses. 

Courses at South Gloucestershire and Stroud college.
Courses at City of Bristol college.

I would like to do something creative, like music, photography or drama 

Creative Youth Network runs courses for young people who are out of work. They also offer advice, one-to-one support and help with looking for a job.

Are there any training courses I can do at home?

There are many free online courses which may be easier to fit around caring:

  • Learn Direct offer some free courses in maths, English, IT and skills for work and many other courses for which you have to pay.
  • free online courses on using a computer, browsing the web, sending an email and finding work online.
  • free online courses on all kinds of subjects which are provided by universities and specialist organisations.
  • The Open University offers some free courses.

Higher level courses can be expensive and the quality does vary. So do some research before choosing a course. 

The Open University offers distance learning. See the complete university guide for universities that offer distance learning. 

I would like to attend a course in my local community 

In Bristol and South Gloucestershire there are many colleges offering a wide range of courses. Here are some of the adult learning opportunities available:

Bristol City Council has adult learning courses. South Gloucestershire Council offer community learning with an emphasis on providing opportunities to people with few or no qualifications.

I would like to do a university level course

You may have left school without the opportunity to study at university or you may have completed your Access to Further Education course and would like to go on studying. There is a good choice of universities locally:

Courses aimed at improving your wellbeing 

The Wellbeing College in South Gloucestershire offers free courses aimed at improving people’s health and wellbeing. It also gives people the opportunity to learn a new skill or take a step towards employment. Courses take place in various locations across South Gloucestershire.

Second Step in Bristol runs courses aimed at improving wellbeing, covering things like mindfulness, confidence building and managing anxiety and depression.

Can I get some help with training costs? 

There may be grants, bursaries and loans that you can apply for, depending on the course. Some students can claim benefits whilst studying. Funding and benefits for students is a complex area, so its worth getting advice.

The following organisations give further information on funding:

How can I feel more confident in my caring role?

Carers Support Centre offers a range of courses and workshops for carers. These are designed to give you the information you need to look after your self and to better understand the range of support available.

Open Learn offer a course for carers and other related courses.

I would like to do some training to help me get a job, but I don’t know what I could do?

The National Careers Service has a skills health check where you can take part in quizzes and activities that help you explore your skills and interests. They also have Job profiles where you can find out what qualifications, training and experience you  need to get into a particular job, as well as details on pay and what to expect.