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Learning with PCS

If you:

* Need help deciding the training and development you want

* Are looking for information and advice on learning, either in or outside work

* Want someone to help you raise your learning needs and interests with your employer

* Are looking for someone you can trust

 - then your first port of call should be a union learning representative (ULR) in your area. If you do not know who your ULR is, then ask your local rep.

Getting advice and information

If you would like to do a course or learn something that PCS does not offer, there are a number of sources of information and advice available - either by telephone, local information points or the internet.

Some of the main sources are listed below. You will find other sources of information in your local area - such as libraries, colleges and careers services.


A good first port of call is learndirect, a free national telephone helpline - 0800 100 900 - offering advice and information on learning and career opportunities. Lines are open 9 am to 9 pm Monday to Friday and 9 am to 12 noon on Saturdays.

Learndirect holds a large database of information about learning and career options and can refer enquirers to local organisations that can provide more in-depth information, advice and guidance.

Learndirect also has a website You can search for courses by subject and geographical area and the site also has information about funding for study, childcare and learning for those with disabilities.

Find out more on the Learndirect website.


Nextstep is an information and advice service funded by the Learning & Skills Council. It provides free information on learning and work to those aged over 20.

Local nextsteps centres provide information on courses locally, have an online learning and work advice facility and an online CV builder.

To find out more about Nextstep and to find your local centre on the Directgov website.

BBC Skillswise

For literacy and numeracy materials please visit the BBC Skillswise website.

BBC Webwise

To learn about computers and the internet please visit the BBC Webwise website.

Directgov - adult learning advice

The education and learning pages on the Directgov website has links to learndirect, guides on qualifications, help with finding providers and colleges and information on skill development. See the Directgov website.

Careers services and libraries

Many local careers services offer advice and guidance to adults, however, they may charge for this. Careers libraries, housed within local careers services, colleges and universities, contain books and other literature on career and learning opportunities.

Some also house Training Access Points - information databases from which you can get information about learning and training opportunities. Public libraries are also a good first point of contact if you are looking for information about learning. Most public libraries now also offer access to the Internet.

Colleges and universities

Further education colleges and universities offer free educational advice and guidance to prospective students.

There is a map of universities in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on the University of Wolverhampton website from which you can access universities' web sites.

The Open University

The Open University offers degree and postgraduate courses by distance learning - ie you study at your own pace in your own time with support from a tutor at a distance. See the Open University website or call the Open University on 0870 333 4340.

National Extension College

National Extension College offers a wide range of courses available by open and distance learning, including GCSE’s, A levels and degree courses.

Find out more on the National Extension College website or call 0800 389 2839 for information and advice on NEC courses.

Remember to check Learning on the PCS website Learning in DWP