If you want to develop your skills to advance your career, further education can provide the training and qualifications delivered in a flexible way to meet your demands.
Further education colleges offer a range of academic, vocational and leisure courses to suit your needs. You may have the option of full or part time courses as well as day or evening classes, depending on the course you choose.
Most academic and vocational courses begin in September, but short-term and part-time courses may start at different times of the year. You can apply online or by post. Application procedures should be checked directly with the college you are interested in, particularly the entry requirements and closing date for applications.
Check out the full or part-time courses available on the Further Education (FE) Colleges websites.
The Careers Service can offer you professional advice on your career development. A careers adviser can give up-to-date information on courses, training and job trends information. You will have to make important decisions, such as choosing what to learn and how to fit your learning around your other commitments.
There is a range of support available that you may be entitled to if you decide to enter further education.
Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
The Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is a means-tested fortnightly payment to help with the costs of continuing in education if you are aged between 16 and 19. For more information about eligibility and to get an application pack, contact your college or visit Money to Learn - Education Maintenance Allowance
Professional and Career Development Loan
You may be eligible for a Professional and Career Development Loan (PCDL). This is a deferred repayment bank loan to help you pay for vocational education or training. To check if you are eligible visit Professional and Career Development Loans (GOV.UK website)
Further Education grants
Further Education grants may be available if you have to pay fees and need help with this. You can also apply for a grant towards living costs. To download an application form and read guidance notes, go to:
The Education Authority is responsible for the administration of Further Education grants.
For people with disabilities
Find out about the support available at colleges for people with disabilities.
All further education colleges provide a Hardship Fund for students experiencing significant financial problems. Conditions apply so you should contact your college directly for advice.
Care to learn
Get help with childcare costs. If you’re a parent aged 16, 17 or 18 and studying at a further education college, the Care to Learn scheme could help towards your childcare costs. You can apply for help beforehand if you expect to become a parent during your course. Contact your local college for more information.
The health and wellbeing of all students are of paramount importance for FE Colleges. There is a strong student support service available to all students in each college. Colleges are aware that some students may, at times, need extra support. Trained staff offer support to all students, providing advice and guidance and if necessary counselling on a range of issues. College staff will help students to address concerns including personal and relationship issues, accommodation, finance, health, careers or any other any issues which affect their studies.