The Open University is adding a dozen new free skills-based courses to The Skills Toolkit, the UK Government’s website dedicated to helping people build skills in the wake of the pandemic and aid vital recovery efforts among employees and employers.
The new courses from the OU will appeal to a broad set of learners who may be seeking to learn new skills, enhance CVs or further their employment prospects, regardless of age and circumstances in the jobs market. Courses include those dedicated to digital skills, to lessons in entrepreneurship and leadership as well as courses on internships and gaining work experience.
The Skills Toolkit is available to everyone and has a range of courses from introductory to more advanced levels. The Toolkit to share free learning has already seen tens of thousands of course starts in free digital and numeracy learning across the country.
The OU’s OpenLearn platform, has seen a huge demand for skills-based, employability focused courses – with many courses seeing more than ten times normal enrolment rates during lockdown.
Professor Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor, The Open University said:
“We are extremely pleased to be adding 12 more skills-based free courses to this important initiative. The pandemic has brought home that access to learning throughout our lives is an economic and social necessity.
“The Open University’s high-quality free courses have appeal across the spectrum from beginner to team leader, with opportunities open to all regardless of age or life stage.
“Our world leading expertise and capability in online teaching shapes these courses on our OpenLearn platform and they are designed to fit around life, something of even greater importance in today’s unprecedented times.”
The full list of courses:
This course will take you through the decisions you will need to make when building a business: generating initial ideas through to deciding what you will do and how you will establish your business and grow it. It will guide you through business models, funding options, business types and influence of location and importantly assessment of your own skills, values and attitudes to risk. The course is focused on practical advice from real entrepreneurs, and will signpost you to where you can find additional support and how you can further develop your own capabilities.
This free course will develop your confidence and skills for life online, whether study, work or everyday life. It explores a range of digital skills and practices, including digital identity, digital well-being, staying safe and legal, finding and using information and online tools, and dealing with information overload. The importance of developing a critical approach to life online is emphasised throughout, whether consuming or creating information. You’ll be encouraged to reflect on your own situation and to apply what you learn to real-life scenarios, using a digital skills plan to keep a record of progress
This free course starts by placing thinking tools in their historical context and concludes with an examination of their future. During the course, you’re introduced to a wide variety of digital thinking tools. You will apply these tools in many practical activities and case studies, solving problems that involve finding and evaluating information, performing calculations and drawing reasoned conclusions.
In this course, you’ll learn about new and inspiring employment opportunities and trends in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), see how other people have navigated their careers and, most importantly, how they have made a return to STEM employment following a career break or as a result of redundancy. Throughout the course, you’ll be given challenging and thought-provoking activities to help you define your next steps.
The way you present yourself to your employers, both current and future, plays a crucial part in career success and satisfaction. If you get it right, it can enhance your profile at work, helping you to win interesting projects, promotions and the respect of your colleagues. It will also increase your chances of being the successful candidate at job interviews or attracting clients to your business if you’re self-employed.
This free course will explain what mentors and career coaches do and how a colleague or expert who can ask the right questions, challenge assumptions, and help an individual to find the best solutions for themselves, can make a significant difference in a wide range of situations and contexts. Working through this course will help you to: identify how a mentor or coach can support career development; understand the skills and characteristics of an effective mentor or coach; and find out how to become a mentor or coach when you feel ready to take on that role.
This free course explores the importance of communication as a skill in the workplace. It aims to increase your understanding of communication skills and to help you to consider how your communication could be perceived by others. You’ll cover areas such as verbal and non-verbal communication, written communication and using your communication skills in challenging and diverse situations. You’ll also look at possible scenarios for communication in the future, ranging from remote working to virtual reality.
In the working world, it’s no secret that an internship can provide valuable experience, enhance your career development and increase your chances of securing the job you really want. But what actually is an internship? If it isn’t called an ‘internship’ does it have less credibility? Are all internships or work experiences going to give you the knowledge and skills that you need? If you want to learn more about internships and the other work experience options available, and explore how you can obtain and maximise the right opportunities to support your chosen career, then this free course Internships and other work experiences will help you.
This free badged course will help you to understand the factors that influence career resilience, and offer examples and tactics for you to develop yours further.
You might be considering a leadership role as your next career step, or maybe you’re in a leadership position already and finding it difficult to move your team forward. If you’re interested in finding out more about leadership, from the perspective of a leader or a follower, then this free course will help you. Working through this course will help you to explore what makes a good leader, recognise common leadership challenges, and identify the skills you need to develop if you want to enhance your own leadership experience.
Do fractions and decimals make you apprehensive about maths? Do you lack confidence in dealing with numbers? If so, then this free course, Numbers, units and arithmetic, is for you. The course will explain the basics of working with positive and negative numbers and how to multiply and divide with fractions and decimals.
This course will help you consider your experience of working in teams and the different roles you play in them. It will increase your confidence in marketing this key skill to employers as well improve your ability to perform well in teams you are currently part of.