OpenLearn is the FREE learning platform of The Open University and this collection of content is designed to help you as you embark on your new career, be that providing some ideas as to what that career might be, or helping you get started in your chosen field. Take a look at the FREE courses and guides below to help get your career started, without committing to full-time study.
- We also have a 'Skills for Work' area on OpenLearn to help you enhance your work skills.
Succeed in the workplace
Whatever career path you choose to take, there are skills that will be relevant to them all – team work, communication, leadership… and you’ll find them all in our collection of ‘soft skills’ courses, as approved by Google. You can also check out our full collection of badged open courses on employability.
Do you want to change jobs, are you just starting in the job market or may be returning after a break? If so, then this free course, Succeed in the workplace, is for you. It will help you explore career opportunities. You will also gain the skills to write strong CVs and application forms, and to handle different types of interviews. By the end of the course you will have made a start on your own realistic and strong action plan to enable you to find a job that will fulfil your aspirations and suit your lifestyle.Learn more ❯Succeed in the workplace
This free course, Personal branding for career success, considers what a personal brand is and whether you currently have one. You’ll look in detail at theories and examples of personal branding, and relevant marketing processes and practices. You’ll identify the values, skills, knowledge and expertise that you want to promote to employers, and consider different ways to build and present your own brand.Learn more ❯Personal branding for career success
This free course, Effective communication in the workplace, 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 to overcome challenging situations.Learn more ❯Effective communication in the workplace
Learn a language
Language skills are desirable, and even essential, for prospective employers. Developing your language skills could be the key to landing yourself a perfect job. Foreign language learning can also give you transferable skills such as cultural awareness, communication, and diversity and inclusion. Take a look at the language resources below.
- Check out the Full range of FREE French, German, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Welsh and English rescources.
Learn about the concepts and skills required to learn languages successfully. This free course, How to learn a language, introduces the skills and strategies for language learning, setting realistic goals when learning languages and keeping motivated, practise speaking skills and vocabulary learning strategies. It will enable you to evaluate resources and create a virtual immersion environment.Learn more ❯How to learn a language
All of us in our working lives increasingly need to work with people from other cultures or those whose native language is foreign, or we may have to go to another country and work as a foreigner ourselves. This free course, Languages at work, is about how to understand differences in culture and how to make the most of existing language skills. It is aimed at all adult learners, whether in FE or in the workplace. The sections are independent, and can be studied in any order and any combination. They are linked to NVQ assessments at Entry Level, Level 1 and Level 2.Learn more ❯Languages at Work
Boost your digital skills
The ability to use information and communication technologies is becoming increasingly important to employers. Learn how to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information with these free courses.
This free course, Introduction to cyber security: stay safe online, will help you to understand online security and start to protect your digital life, whether at home or work. You will learn how to recognise the threats that could harm you online and the steps you can take to reduce the chances that they will happen to you.Learn more ❯Introduction to cyber security: stay safe online
Ever since the very beginning of humanity, tools have played a pivotal role in who we are and what we do. Tools for recording, processing and communicating information have a time-honoured history – from the clay tokens used in Mesopotamia to mechanical calculating machines. The invention of the digital computer has boosted the scale, speed and reach with which thinking tools extend our natural capabilities. This free course, Digital thinking tools for better decision making, 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.Learn more ❯Digital thinking tools for better decision making
Go after your dream job
Do you want to work in healthcare? Maybe construction is more up your street? Perhaps you'd like to 'nail it' as a nail technician? Just because it’s your first job, doesn’t mean it can’t be your dream job too! We've a range of resources to develop your skills needed for a range of roles...
You can change lives by using your personal skills to aid those in need. Your communication skills, resilience and empathy are key assets when working in social care, a crucial societal structure that matters to everybody.Read now ❯My career goal: Social care
A career in childcare and education is an investment in future generations. Find out how to engage your strong communication and leadership skills to care for young ones and guide their learning.Take part now ❯My career goal: Childcare and education
Bring out your creative flair to its full potential. Find some practical advice for advancing your career in a creative industry, whether that's using your keen visual eye, practical ingenuity, or rigorous technical skills.Take part now ❯My career goal: Creative and design
Are you driven to find out how things work, and want to know how they're made? Construction could be for you. Here's some advice on using your practical mind and hands-on skills to build bigger and better things.Read now ❯My career goal: Construction
Whether your interest is in pharmaceuticals, disease treatment or chemical research, you can help break new discoveries and improve our scientific understanding. This page has info on career options from food science to forensics, and working for the NHS.Read now ❯My career goal: Health and science
If you want to utilise your ability to handle complex situations with moving parts - whether that's balancing the books or assessing the letter of the law - you can hear from professionals in the field and determine your next steps on this page.Read now ❯My career goal: Legal, finance and accounting
Do you have business acumen just waiting to be tapped? Find resources below to develop your communication and strategic skills, maybe even an apprenticeship to begin your career in business.Read now ❯My career goal: Business and administrative
Interested in veterinary or agricultural work, or more industrial work like food farming and sustainable energy? Find out how you can gather skills and carry out work that will have a real impact on our relationship with the environment.Read now ❯My career goal: Environment
In this multi-disciplinary industry, you'll need a diverse range of technical and critical thinking skills to take on complex tasks. Here's some advice to help you get started with building tomorrow's world.Read now ❯My career goal: Engineering
Hardware engineer Robyn discusses the highlights of her job, plus the misconceptions of her industry.Watch now ❯Women in engineering - interview with Robyn Moates
The Open University under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license
What's it like being a nurse in the cancer field?
Watch these short videos where Open University graduates Anne Hampton and Vikkie Allan tell us what their roles in medical oncology and endoscopy are like and how they help people with cancer.Watch now ❯What's it like being a nurse in the cancer field?
Meet Stacey - she was the first healthcare assistant supported through the OU nursing programme by her employer. She's now a graduate nurse and is sharing her reason for becoming a nurse with you...Watch now ❯OU Graduate Stacey: Why I became a nurse