Online training support

If you’re a furloughed worker, or have lost your job as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19) and want to develop your skills to help you look for work, free online training is available.

Open University courses

The Department for the Economy has partnered with the Open University to offer a range of free training to help you improve your skills and wellbeing.

The Open University offers a wide range of online courses. View The Open University full catalogue for ideas.

The following key areas of learning are particularly relevant and widely applicable at this time.

Digital skills


Essential skills (English and maths)

Universities and Further Education colleges

Northern Ireland has three universities, two university colleges, six further education colleges and an agri-food and land based college, all of which offer opportunities to study for and attain various higher education qualifications. Find out what courses are available online by visiting their websites.

Careers online support

A range of interactive tools are available to help you find out more about your career options, based on your skills, interests and values. The career matching tools give you suggestions based on what you like and/or what you’re good at.

The Career A to Z tool has lots of information about employment, education and training options, to help you learn more about careers you're interested in.

Other online courses

AbilityNet helps people of any age and with any disability to use technology to achieve their goals at home, at work and in education.

Alison is a free learning platform for education and skills training. It is a not-for-profit social enterprise dedicated to making it possible for anyone, to study anything, anywhere, at any time, for free online, at any subject level.

AWS Training & Certification is free to register and offers over 500 free courses to build AWS Cloud Skills.

BBC Skillswise offers a collection of free videos and downloadable worksheets to help adult learners improve their reading, writing and numeracy skills.

BT Skills for Tomorrow offers a wide range of free resources anyone can use to help them stay safe, connected an informed online.

Business Model Canvas helps you develop business direction, appraisals and create new value propositions and business direction

Carnegie Trust in partnership with CILIP Library association offer online development materials on leadership and innovation, including on transformation, creativity and innovation, influencing skills and power.

Google Digital Garage offers over 40 hours’ worth of training to get the digital skills you need to start your career or grow your business.

Invest NI offers a wide range of tools and business tutorials to support improvements in business processes and growth.

Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom, offering mathematics, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more.

Learn My Way is a website of free online courses, built by Good Things Foundation to help people develop their digital skills.

Training Matchmaker offers a range of free short courses, based online or across Northern Ireland, in a wide range of technical and vocational areas,

Class Central offers several thousand free online courses that have been developed by a number of top universities from across the globe, including in ICT and business.

Coursera  brings together courses and certificates provided online for free by a variety of universities and companies. The main focus is on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, with additional material in other areas also available.

Oxford Home Study College offers a range of fully certified provision including cyber security, digital marketing, life-coaching and planning.

UK Learns is a new online learning platform, offering a wide range of largely free, certified courses, which have been identified with employers as relevant for future employment.  

Help and advice

If you need any help deciding on which course is right for you, contact a careers adviser who can discuss your specific needs and circumstances, offering one to one advice and guidance.

If you live in England, Scotland and Wales

This advice and guidance is for people living in Northern Ireland. If you live in other parts of the UK, visit:

Useful links

Disclaimer: This page provides links to other websites which are not under the control of nidirect. The nature, content and availability of the courses or content available on these sites may vary, and the inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the content or views expressed within them.

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