If you haven’t taken a course since you graduated from school, it is like exercising. The hardest part is putting on your shoes and going out the door. But since you can get free courses already (and onlinecourses too!), there’s no excuse to not upgrade yourself.
Here is our ultimate guide to free professional courses, and also training funds you can use to offset paid courses.
Free Online Courses
There are many free online courses you can sign up for online on:
- Udemy (over 45,000 courses from IT development, to music and design)
- Coursera (taught by top instructors from the world’s best universities and educational institutions)
- Udacity (for coding, there are short videos and quizzes, no more long boring lectures hurray!)
- LinkedIn Learning (free trial for a month and your newly-acquired skills are updated directly to your LinkedIn profile)
- Khan Academy (courses from kindergarten all the way to adult learning, with partnerships with institutions like NASA and MIT)
- EdX (founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012 with 90 global partners including the world’s leading universities, nonprofits, and institutions)
- LessonsGoWhere (mostly for recreational courses although there are some WSQ courses inside)
Paid Offline and Online Courses
If you want to scale up from free courses, the above vendors also offer paid courses where you can unlock more advanced modules, or even take tests and obtain an official certificate.
Paid courses are also offered by various Institutes of Higher Learning, such as:
- NUS (alumni can take 2 modules from 1 August 2017 to 30 July 2020, free for the first year)
- NTU (check out their Technology-Enabled Learning (TEL) courses where you can study online via short video webcasts and quizzes)
- SUSS (NTUC members can use UTAP funds to offset 50% of course fees up to $250 a year)
Modular courses are such a rage now that if an institution doesn’t offer them, they are missing out on a huge demand for bite-sized courses that can be customised to meet skills demands of employers.
Learning providers such as:
- NTUC LearningHub also offer online courses via Cegos and Udemy
- Lithan Academy has courses to accelerate your digital skills
- General Assembly which offers coding, design and data skills, among others
Besides SkillsFuture Credits (SFC) of $500 (which may be topped up in future I hope!), you can also tap on both self-sponsored training and employer-sponsored training grants from SkillsFuture SG.
NTUC members get $250 every year to offset 50% of their course fees, under the Union Training Assistance Programme (UTAP) fund, for a range of courses that even covers:
- Class 3 / 3A and 4 driving courses
- Examinations for Finance, Six Sigma, accountancy, information systems security and more
- Udemy paid courses
- courses at NTU, SUSS, polytechnics, ITEs, and other learning providers
There are many industry-specific training grants, such as:
- IBF Singapore’s Financial Training Scheme (FTS) – for funding for financial sector-specific training programmes which are recognised under FTS
- VWOs-Charities Capability Fund (VCF) Training Grant – co-funding for local training courses to help charities comply with regulatory requirements and build good governance standards
- Maritime Cluster Fund (MCF) Training Grant – co-funding for maritime-related courses, seminars and conferences in Singapore
SME staff can also tap into the Enhanced Training Support for SMEs Fund that covers over 8,000 courses.
Even caregivers have a $200 yearly Caregivers Training Grant to use for caregiving courses, which comes in handy especially for those who suddenly find themselves having to learn a new skill to cope with the requirements of caregiving.
Mid-career switchers can also check out Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) where you can get both skills upgrading and work attachments.
There are two schemes, the Place-and-Train (e.g. in Infocomm Technology, Healthcare and more), and Attach-and-Train programmes (such as the logistics and creative sector), which facilitates your move into a new industry.
Guide To Finding The Course You Should Take
The big questions you may be asking yourself, is “How do I know what professional course to take?”.
I faced this problem because there are wayyyy too many choices and learning providers.
Then I came across this website www.jobkred.com which I found amazingly useful.
Basically, you enter your professional profile (including existing skills) and choose the targeted job roles you want to be promoted to (from a list).
JobKred will analyse the skills of your targeted job roles from their database of more than a million CVs, and highlight the skills you should upgrade (see left column below).
You can then search for relevant courses from Udemy, Coursera, Udacity and Loop.sg based on the specific skill to upgrade. Easy huh?
And you can even filter the courses to show free ones first.
Being spoilt for choice is no excuse, try learning a skill you really like first. and when you’ve gotten the hang of going back to “school”, it’s too addictive to stop learning!
When you’ve gotten the hang of going back to “school”, it’s too addictive to stop learning!
Featured pic: LitMUSE
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