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Courses and learning

Course search tips

Quick search

You can search for a course by entering a relevant keyword or phrase into the box that says ‘Course name or subject’ and clicking on the Search button. As you type your keyword or phrase, suggestions for common search terms will appear in a drop-down menu.

When you click ‘Search’, the course search will then bring up courses that have that keyword or phrase in the title. It will also bring up courses that have similar names – for example, typing in ‘maths’ will return courses with ‘mathematics’ in the title as well.

To search for courses in a particular location you can enter a place name, a full postcode or a partial postcode to bring up courses in a particular area.  For example, if you’re looking for French courses in London, type 'French' in the Course search box and 'London' in the Location box.

If you enter a place name or partial postcode, the course search will return courses where the venue is in this location. If you enter a full postcode you will also be able to choose an option to indicate how far you're willing to travel to do your chosen course.

However, some courses don’t have a specific venue (for example, if the provider runs the course at your own home) – these courses will also be returned if the course provider has indicated that it can be delivered within the wider region that the location you entered is in.

Results returned from the quick search will be class-based courses, starting anytime and ordered by distance from the location entered, or ordered by start date if no location is entered.

You could also try using the Advanced search facility to refine your search even further.

When you get your search results you can also refine them using the same filtering options as in the Advanced search.


Search results

Your first 20 courses are displayed. Where there are more than 20 courses the further courses can be shown by selecting the next page or by selecting a specific page number at the bottom of the page.

To narrow down the results, you can refine your search by providing additional information and searching again. See the Advanced search help for information on refining your course search.


Provider search

If you want to search for courses being run by a particular learning provider, simply select the ‘Provider search’ tab. In the box that says ‘Provider name’ you can enter a complete or partial provider name to restrict the search results to include only courses from providers which match this keyword.

When you begin to type your keyword into this box a list of suggestions based on the letters you have already entered will appear in a drop-down list.

You could also try using the Advanced search facility to refine your search even further.


Provider search results

Your first 20 providers are displayed. Where there are more than 20, these further providers can be shown by selecting the next page or by selecting a specific page number at the top of the page.

To see courses offered by a provider simply select the provider name.


 

Saving your results

You will need to open or log in to a Lifelong Learning Account to save the results of your course search. The Lifelong Learning Account is provided free of charge by the National Careers Service and is a great place to store all your important learning and career information. You need to be 16 or over to open a Lifelong Learning Account.

If you're having trouble finding the course you want, simply go to the Contact us page to find out how to get in touch and our advisers will do their best to help you.


 

Advanced search

The Advanced course search can help you to pinpoint courses that match your particular needs if you already have a clear idea of what you want to do. For example, if you need a flexible course to fit around childcare or you want to study for a particular qualification.

You will need to enter a course name/subject or a provider name, but all the other fields are optional. You will be able to use all the same advanced filtering options when you get your course search results.

Subject keyword(s)

You can search for a course by entering a relevant keyword or phrase into the box that says ‘Course name or subject’ and clicking on the Search button. As you type your keyword or phrase, suggestions for common search terms will appear in a drop-down menu.

The course search will then bring up courses that have that keyword or phrase in the title. It will also bring up courses that have similar names – for example, typing in ‘maths’ will return courses with ‘mathematics’ in the title as well.

Course provider

In the box that says ‘Provider name’ you can enter a complete or partial provider name to restrict the search results to include only courses from providers which match this keyword.

When you begin to type your keyword into this box a list of suggestions based on the letters you have already entered will appear in a drop-down list.

Location

You can enter a place name, a full postcode or a partial postcode to bring up courses in a particular area.

If you enter a place name or partial postcode, the course search will return courses where the venue is in this location. If you enter a full postcode you will also be able to choose an option to indicate how far you're willing to travel to do your chosen course.

However, some courses don’t have a specific venue (for example, if the provider runs the course at your own home) – these courses will also be returned if the course provider has indicated that it can be delivered within the wider region that the location you entered is in.

Course hours

If you choose an option from this drop-down menu you can view only courses that are run a certain number of hours a week. If you don’t alter this box, by default the course search will not filter by course hours.

Select the way you want to learn from the followng options:

Full-time

The actual number of hours of attendance on a full-time course can vary from around 15 to 40 hours a week. However, if you take into account the expected personal study time, a full-time course is often a five days a week commitment.

Part-time

Not as many hours as full-time, but a part-time course could be anything from a couple of hours a week to around 15 hours. It could also be in the daytime or evening only, or a combination of the two.

Part of a full-time programme

Choose this option if you want a qualification as part of a full-time study programme. An example would be a Biology GCE A Level, which could form part of a full-time programme of study.

Flexible

On flexible courses you can usually vary the hours you study each week, which could include evenings and weekends.

Course type

If you choose an option from this drop-down menu, you can choose to view only courses that are delivered in a certain way. If you don’t alter this box, by default it will return class-based courses.

Select how you'd like to learn from the following options:

Class-based courses

These are usually held at the learning provider’s venue itself, which you will usually have to travel to and from. Many providers have more than one centre/campus, so make sure you know which one it is.

Work-based courses

These usually take place on work premises. They could include a mixture of workshops, class-based learning and learning on the job alongside experienced staff.

Online courses

These are courses you can do over the internet, either at home or at a learning centre. They can include online tutor support and discussion with other students. They are usually flexible.

Distance learning courses

These are courses where you do not need to attend regularly, usually studying from home via the internet, TV programmes or printed materials. You may have to go to learning centres occasionally for exams or tutorials.

Start date

You can indicate when you'd like your course to start by selecting any of the Start date radio buttons. If you don’t alter this section, by default the course search will not filter by start date.

If you haven't got a preference, choose ‘Anytime’. This will show courses with any start dates, including courses that had start dates up to six months in the past.

If you prefer to view courses that are only available after a specific date, select ‘From today’ or ‘Select a date’. Then only courses on or after the specified date will be displayed.

Order by

Using these radio buttons you can change the way your results are ordered. If you don’t make any changes to this section, and you don’t enter a location, by default the course search puts your results in order of Start date.

You can choose to order your results by Start date, so the latest courses are displayed first. Where a course does not have a specific start date, it will appear at the end of the results.

If you want to order the courses by how close they are to you, then enter a location and choose 'Distance' in the Order by section. If you enter a full or partial postcode, results are ordered by distance from the postcode. Courses with no specific venue are included at the end of the list. If you enter a place name, results which have a specific venue are returned first (ordered by start date), followed by those which don’t have a venue (ordered by start date).


FAQs

What is a provider?
A provider is an organisation that offers learning opportunities. Learning providers include colleges, adult education centres, private training companies, libraries and charities. 

How do I search by distance?
Enter your postcode or the name of the town or city where you want to study. If you enter a full postcode you will also be able to choose an option to indicate how far you're willing to travel to do your chosen course.

You can just enter the first part of your postcode (for example, SW1) but this will return results that are within 75 miles of this postcode. If you enter the full postcode you will be given the option to view providers that are within a shorter distance.

I've searched but I don't get any results.
Try selecting a different Course type such as ‘Online courses’ or ‘Distance learning courses’.

Check your spelling. Make sure your entries in the Course name/subject, Provider and Location boxes are spelt correctly.

Try altering the Start date, or selecting ‘Anytime’.

Try removing the search filters or using a more general search phrase.

Try using the Provider search if you know who you want to study with.

The course I want to do is shown in the results - how do I see more information?
Select the course name. Extra information on the course will then be displayed.

I want to know which courses a provider offers.
Use the Advanced search and refine your search by Course provider. Alternatively, use our Provider search. For example, if you are looking for Lambeth College, click on Provider search, type Lambeth College in the Provider finder box then click on the Search button. Simply select the provider name on the results to view the courses offered by the provider.

I know roughly what I want to do but I’m not sure of the name of the course.
Go to Browse course subject and browse through the course subjects available. When you find the name of the course you are interested in, if you select it you will be shown results for all of the UK. If this shows too many, enter the course name in the Advanced search and narrow it down by provider, location, hours and/or course type.

I want to know which courses I can do in a subject area.
Go to Browse Course Subject and browse through the course categories available. When you find the name of the course you are interested in, if you select it you will be shown results for all of the UK. If this shows too many, enter the course name in the Advanced search and narrow it down by provider, location, hours and/or course type.

I’d like to do a self-study course. 
Use the Advanced search and choose the Distance learning and/or Online courses options in the Course type menu. If you choose a course subject you should then be able to view a list of courses where you don’t need to attend.

I'm looking for information on jobs and how to get into them. 
Use our Job profile search to find detailed information like expected salary, hours, and entry requirements on over 750 job profiles.

I'm looking for the contact details of a particular course provider.
Use our Provider search and enter a provider name. The provider results show the contact details of the searched provider.

I want to search for other information on a topic.
You can use our general search to bring up careers information, forum discussions and features.

 

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