For the vast majority considering a career change, transition, pivot or progression further education is key. Whether you need to upskill, reskill or re-train some form of education is almost always vital. The number of courses available online, by distance learning, at your local college or through work is immense. Not to mention the paralysing fear that once you invest your hard earned cash, you run the risk of not enjoying it. Fear not. There are risk-free ways of sampling courses in your area of interest costing nothing but your time. The four following highly regarded offerings are career orientated and professional amounting to nothing short of an incredible opportunity.
Courses are free, online, can be downloaded to and accessed on your mobile, tablet or desktop. Courses are 4 – 6 weeks in duration and require an investment of 3-5 hours of your time weekly. Major universities from the UK, Ireland, Europe & Australia deliver the content, in collaboration with cultural and educational institutions including the National Film and Television School and professional organisations such as Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, or Institution of Engineering and Technology. These hugely exciting businesses partnerships see learning coalitions with M&S, BBC and Channel 4. You can choose a course from a category e.g. Business & Management, Creative Arts & Media, Science, Maths & Technology or Online & Digital, etc., or from a collection e.g. Develop your Management Skills, Discover Forensics, Exploring English, Get Ahead in the Digital World or Get Creative.
Funded by Harvard University & MIT and ran in conjunction with some of the most impressive Ivy League colleges including Stanford, Berkeley, Columbia, Princeton edx.org is amazing. Universities in conjunction with large international businesses deliver introductory hands-on practical courses that are industry specific and/or career relevant. Topics include everything from computer programming to communication, learning a language, to applied psychology and leadership training. If you complete a Verified Programs or XSeries, it is possible to purchase a certificate of participation. This digital certificate can subsequently be added to your online CV.
Alison.com, founded in Ireland by Mike Feerick, is a global online learning forum. Courses run in partnership with some of the largest businesses in the world including Google, Microsoft, and Macmillan. It is possible to choose a course by a subject area e.g. App Development, Childcare Studies, Health & Fitness, E-Business, Conflict Resolution, etc., or by the qualification you want e.g. Diploma in Human Resources, Diploma in Project Management, or Diploma in Web Design, etc. You register your interest after which all courses are self-paced. Upon completion, you receive a learner record, or you have the option to purchase a certificate of completion.
The Digital Garage with Google is a free online forum where you can boost your digital knowledge in everything from online marketing to social media to SEO. Courses are self-paced and once you complete all of your chosen modules you get a certificate/badge from Google and IAB Europe. All you have to do is register your interest, set your goals, watch the videos, answer a set of questions based on the video as you do so you earn your learning badges. Once you set your learning goals and choose the type of digital information you need to progress your career you can access the lessons anytime, anywhere and for free.
By Sinead Brady