Further Education and Lifelong Learning
Further education (FE) includes any study after secondary education that is not part of higher education (that is, not taken as part of an undergraduate or graduate degree).
Courses range from basic English and maths to Higher National Diplomas (HNDs).
FE also includes 3 types of technical and applied qualifications for 16 to 19-year-olds:
- level 3 tech levels to specialise in a specific technical job;
- level 2 technical certificates help get employment or progress to another tech level;
- applied general qualifications to continue general education at advanced level; through applied learning.
You can find out more about types of qualifications, funding and financial support here.
You can find a course through the National Careers Service.
Links to information for Scotland can be found from Skills Development Scotland.
For information about courses in Wales visit Adult Learning Wales.
For information about courses in Northern Ireland visit Northern Ireland Direct.
Scholarships for children whose parent died in Service – Bereavement Scholarship Scheme
You can apply for help with the costs of further and higher education if all of the following are true:
- one of your parents died as a result of their service in the Armed Forces;
- your parent died on or after 1 January 1990;
- you’re 16 or over and in full-time education;
- you or a surviving parent receive bereavement benefits from the Armed Forces Compensation scheme, War Pension scheme or Armed Forces Attributable Benefits scheme.
You can’t apply if you were the foster child of the person who died.
You can use the money to pay tuition fees and your maintenance for:
- a further education course of up to 3 years;
- your first undergraduate course at a UK university or other higher education institution (such as a college or art school) – this can include study abroad if it’s part of the course;
- a higher level technical education course at qualification levels 4, 5 or 6.
Find out more and apply here.
If you’re interested in learning new skills or starting a course, there are a range of educational opportunities open to you:
The Naval Education and Training Service (NETS)
The Naval Education and Training Service runs Learning and Development (LDC) centres at every Royal Navy and Royal Marines major Unit and Establishment. The aim is to promote and sustain a culture of continuous learning, and personal and professional development that maximises performance, growth and employability. The centres are set up for Service people, but spouses and partners can also access their functional skills, GCSE and other courses. Priority for spaces will go to serving people, but the centres do regularly provide courses to civilian partners. There will be an examination fee for GCSEs for civilian partners; tuition is free.
Contact your local NETS team:
NETS (East) – Portsmouth Naval Base
Enquiries Office: 023 92 725292
NETS (West) – Devonport Naval Base
Enquiries Office: 01752 555300
NETS (North) – Clyde Naval Base
Enquiries Office: 01436 674321 Ext 3241
NETS (North) – Rosyth Naval Base
Rosyth Learndirect Centre: 01383 425775
The Open University
The Open University (OU) teaches through its own unique method of distance learning, called ‘supported open learning’. This is flexible, allowing students to work where and when they choose to fit in with jobs, families and other commitments. Find out about their courses here.
Learn Direct are the UK’s largest provider of skills, training and employment services. They can help you to access qualifications in everyday skills like maths, English and IT, as well as vocational qualifications and Apprenticeships. Learning can be based in one of their centres, at work or online. Depending on what level you’re working towards and your age, your qualification could be funded by the government. For some qualifications, there might be a charge. If there is a charge and you’re 24 or over and on an eligible qualification, a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan could help. Find out more here.
Open Distance Learning Quality Council
Open or Distance Learning can be a good choice for Armed Forces family members. It is important to choose a reputable training provider. The Open and Distance Learning Quality Council (ODLQC) aims to identify and enhance quality in education and training, and to protect the interests of learners. You can find out if a training provider is accredited by checking on the ODLQC’s website.
Future Learn is a private company wholly owned by The Open University. They offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life. They have 145 partners from around the world. These include many of the best UK and international universities, as well as institutions with a huge archive of cultural and educational material, such as the British Council, the British Library, the British Museum, and the National Film and Television School. They also work with a range of internationally renowned organisations – from professional bodies such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), to businesses like the BBC and Marks & Spencer, to the UK Government. Find out more here.
Enhanced Learning Credits (for serving people)
The MOD’s Enhanced Learning Credits Scheme (ELC) promotes lifelong learning amongst members of the Armed Forces. The scheme provides financial support in the form of a single up-front payment in each of a maximum of three separate financial years. ELC funding is only available for pursuit of higher level learning i.e. for courses that result in a nationally recognised qualification at Level 3 or above on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) (England, Northern Ireland and Wales), a Level 6 or above on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) or, if pursued overseas, an approved international equivalent qualification with an approved learning provider. To check eligibility and find out more visit the ELC website.
Provides Access to Higher Education courses, and is an approved learning provider for the MOD ELC scheme. Find out more here.