FREE Courses Online with Qualifications & Certificates UKDisclosure: This site contains affiliate links & commission may be earned from purchases. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
What online courses can I take for free? There has been a big shift in education over the last few years with more and more courses and qualifications being offered online. Free access to some of the top education institutions is now at your fingertips.
No matter whether you’re looking to learn new skills, take professional training to advance your career, or simply wanting that first step up in further education, there are options out there for you.
Free Courses Online
What are the Best Free Online Courses?
Anything from computer science to hospitality, business to creative arts can be learned from the comfort of your own home and in your own time. Best of all, there are a lot of opportunities to gain employable qualifications online, backed by recognised certifications, for FREE, here are the best ones...
The UK Government – Lifetime Skills Guarantee
The first place to start looking is actually at the UK government's website.
The UK government has recently announced a large-scale plan to provide training and courses for a very broad range of topics for free to anyone over 19 that doesn’t already have qualifications at level 3 (the equivalent of A-Levels).
Through their Lifetime Skills Guarantee Scheme they estimate that 11 million adults will have the opportunity for new qualifications for free.
Courses range from engineering to social care and pretty much everything in between. There are almost 400 qualifications spanning topics like;
Accounting and finance
Building and construction
Childcare and early years
Health and social care
Mathematics and statistics
Medicine and dentistry
Teaching and lecturing
Note: Not all of them are online, unfortunately, but many of them are, so it’s definitely worth a look to see if there is a course there that suits you.
OpenLearn – from the Open University
OpenLearn is the free online learning portal from the Open University offering thousands of courses in 8 subject categories:
Money and Business
Health, Sport & Psychology
History & The Arts
Nature & Environment
Science, Maths & Technology
Society, Politics & Law
Many of these courses are great introductions for any further education you might be considering, to learn new skills, or even just to further your knowledge in a topic you love.
What’s great is that you know you are getting training for the Open University, so you can be confident that you will be getting some of the very best education.
Udemy is the biggest online course platform with the widest variety of courses available. You can genuinely learn just about anything on there. Not all of the courses are free, but there are thousands of courses on there that are, and it’s quick and simple to find them. (They also often have large sales where you can pick up their top courses fr as little as £5)
The courses are all created by individuals who are leaders in their industry. They have a rating system which means you can quickly and easily see how much previous students have enjoyed the course and whether it might be for you.
Many of the courses also come with certification as proof of your skills development.
Next on our list is Coursera. It is an amazing resource for learning and education, with online courses that run from short skills advancement all the way up to full degrees. Not all of the courses are free, but there are a lot of amazing free courses on their platform from some of the biggest educational institutes in the world.
Fancy learning brand management from the London School of Business? Or maybe you’d prefer Stanford University on your CV? The list of institutions is broad!
Their range of subjects is great too; from Sciences and technology to food and health, psychology, business, and finance.
edX is very similar to Coursera, and they have a great list of free courses available from some of the biggest educational institutions in the world too (there are even free courses from Harvard University!).
A lot of their learning is focused on experience (video lectures with interactivity) and practice (active quizzes, open response assessments, virtual environments). You get access to a lot of material and learning with edX.
Their courses cover computer science, languages, business, and management, engineering, art, history, fashion. The list goes on.
Pearson: UK Learns
UK Learns is a great resource for free online courses that offer certification that employers value. Many of their courses are free and there are new courses added daily.
They also have a great quiz that you can take that helps you find the right course for you here. It’s the perfect place to start if you’re still trying to work out what it is that you want to learn.
They offer a broad range of topics too, so there’s a little bit of something for everyone.
Skillshare is another platform for online courses created by individuals. But unlike Udemy, it’s subscription-based rather than a cost per course. This means once you’re a member you can take as many of their courses as you want at any time.
They have courses on everything from business and finance to digital marketing, social media, writing, film, animation, even coding, and app development.
You can get your first month free and then after that, you pay £9.99 per month for unlimited courses if you wanted to continue.
The professional social media platform LinkedIn is also getting involved with home education and has over 16,000 expert-led online courses that cover topics across business, technology, and creative arts, to name a few.
Their platform also has a monthly fee for unlimited access to all the courses, and you can get your first month free here (link).
They also offer certification for their courses which is great! So you will have something to show employers once you’ve completed the course.
On top of the online learning platforms listed above, there are a lot of companies offering free specialised training, with a focus on one or two core subjects. Let’s have a look at some of our favourites:
It’s no secret that the job market for digital and IT is only going to grow, and learning new skills like coding or data science is a great way of future-proofing your career potential. Digital skills cover a broad range of topics including; digital marketing online, social media management, app design, coding, and AI.
Here are some of the best free online resources for digital and IT.
Khan Academy is a not-for-profit trying to make education free for all. They have courses that are suited to everyone from young children through to adulthood.
Their free courses on computing cover coding, algorithms, cryptography for starters.
What really piqued our interest though was their course ‘Pixar in a Box’ in collaboration with Pixar animation studios where you can learn the skills they use to create digital cinematic masterpieces.
There are more exciting collaborations with industry-leading companies ahead we are sure, so keep an eye on them.
iDEA Academy is trying to position itself as the Duke of Edinburgh award for digital skills, and companies are certainly starting to take note of the free online training they are giving. Their free mini-courses cover a multitude of subjects like virtual reality, blockchain, coding, social media, growth hacking, e-safety.
It also makes the learning fun by turning it into a game. You gather points as you learn, unlocking achievements and working your way through Bronze, Silver, and Gold, to achieve Industry recognised awards.
Future Learn offers free online courses to grow your digital skills. They have courses that cover the basics of digital skills through to more advanced learning like Artificial Intelligence. They are also great for really understanding how and why digital skills are so important now and will continue to be in the future.
In addition to these platforms, some of the largest IT companies like Google, IBM, and even companies like Rolls Royce are offering free online courses to help improve your digital skills. And training from companies like these certainly won’t hurt your CV either!
Health and Social Care
Vision2learn is government-funded online training offering free courses with a primary focus on Health and Social Care. There are eligibility criteria to be able to take the courses for free. These are:
You live in England and have done for at least 3 years
Ages 19 or over from the 31st August 2021
Not in receipt of any other government-funded training
Business and Finance
Alison offers free online business courses that allow you to grow your skills in management, leadership, and entrepreneurship among other things. They have diploma courses and certificated courses too, which is great.
They also have a nifty search on their website that allows you to focus your search on career progressing courses so that you can be confident that what you are learning is relevant and useful.
By now I’m sure that you can tell, there are a lot of great options for free online courses in just about any subject you could want to learn. These are our top suggestions, but the list goes on and is continuing to grow year on year.
It is a fantastic time to start learning online, and we wish you the best of luck in your journey. We would love to hear how you are getting on so please do leave a comment below and let us know if you enrol in any of the courses above…