How you can acquire new skills and pay less

Whether you're learning for your own interest or to add an impressive extra to your resume, there's ways you can gain valuable new skills for less.

How you can acquire new skills and pay less

Back to school

If you're a mature student, education authorities, clubs and societies offer adult learning opportunities at many local schools and colleges. Check when you book whether you qualify for reduced fees.

Jobless freebies

If you're unemployed and the subject of the course is work-related, you may be eligible for free training. To find out more, contact your local Human Resources Centre or Worker's Compensation Office.

Try a single course

  • Many universities and colleges offer single courses for those unsure of whether they want to commit to long-term study. This could be a cost saver if you are not sure whether a particular course would suit you.
  • If you're interested in a course, contact the professor and ask they object to you auditing the course. If there's space, you could learn for free.
  • Find out if the course lectures are taped and posted on the school website. If they are, you can still follow the lessons without taking up a seat in the classroom.

Keep study costs down

  • Try to buy textbooks from second-hand bookstores. Many bookstores specialize in course books so you shouldn't have far to look, particularly if you live near a university or college.
  • Post a message on the university notice board stating which books you need.
  • Some organizations give a discount for paying for the whole term's classes in advance, which is worth considering if you know you'll like the course. If you aren't, try elsewhere.

Evening classes

Evening classes may be the perfect solution if you work full-time. Calendars are usually available at your local library or distributed via the local paper before the start of term, but you can contact the course provider at any time for advice.

Artistic value

Evening classes that require potentially expensive equipment and materials, such as pottery and art, are often particularly good value. Schools are able to take advantage of educational discounts that aren't available to the general public and you benefit from the discounted rates.

Ask the boss

Your employer will always benefit when your skills are improved. Ask about having your company finance a night course to improve your work performance. In the long run, furthering your education may well result in a salary raise or promotion.

No matter your reasoning, acquiring new skills and learning new things can be a great idea. Even a top quality education doesn't have to cost everything, though, and with some savvy, you can get the classes you want at prices you can afford.

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