Making the Lifetime Skills Guarantee work for you

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You could benefit from the government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee offer of a free level 3 training course. Level 3 is equivalent to an advanced technical certificate or diploma, or 2 A levels. If you don’t already have a qualification at that level, and you are in England, you can access a course for free. Here’s how…

Select a course you want to study

There are hundreds of free courses available, and they cover a wide range of subjects. Here are just a few:

Childcare and early years
  • Level 3 Diploma in Children’s Learning and Development (Early Years Educator)
  • CACHE Level 3 Certificate in Childcare and Education
  • BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Children’s Play, Learning and Development (Early Years Educator)
Business management
  • Level 3 Diploma in Leadership and Management
  • Level 3 Certificate in Business Essentials
  • Level 3 Certificate in Supervisory Management in the Workplace
  • Level 3 Certificate in Software Development
  • Level 3 Certificate in Cyber Security Practices
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Business Information Systems
Health and social care
  • Level 3 Diploma in Adult Care
  • Level 3 Certificate in Supporting Individuals with Learning Disabilities
  • CACHE Level 3 Certificate in Understanding the Care and Management of Diabetes
Public services
  • Level 3 Certificate in Housing Practice
  • Level 3 Certificate in Supporting Homeless People
  • Level 3 Certificate in Business Rates

See the full list of courses

Find a college

Colleges across England are able to offer the free courses to adults. From the North East to the South West, from the city to cyberspace, there are hundreds of training providers offering these free courses.

Contact the college directly to find out if they have free places for the qualification you’re interested in, or if they are considering offering the qualification in the future.

If you’re eligible and your college or training provider is able to offer free places for the qualification you are interested in, then you will not have to pay for the course. They will be able to explain to you how to apply for the course.

Find a college near you

Get time to study

We hope your employer would fully support your development and offer to agree time off from your duties in order to study. But it might not always be practical, so you might need some extra support to gain negotiated time off from your employer. If there’s a UNISON learning rep in your workplace, they will be able to help you make the case.

Contact your branch

Find out about other UNISON learning opportunities

UNISON is committed to providing high quality learning opportunities to its members. We have a wide range of courses to help you in both your professional and personal development. Some of these are organised nationally and some are provided by our regional education teams.

We also offer self-guided online learning through our partnership with the Skills Academy.

UNISON’s national events page

Regional education teams

Skills Academy

(If you are 19 to 23 years old, you can also access additional qualifications for free. You can contact your local college or the National Careers Service for further information.)