To get ahead in life, you constantly need to progress, develop and improve. It is hard, but competition for jobs is higher and you need to stand out to stand a chance.

So many of us want to learn a new skill, to either work our way up the career ladder or change jobs all together. Doing so however can be tricky. Few of us can simply leave our jobs and go back into education without a regular salary. But there are options.

Building skills from home

Distance university

If you have time to invest in your education or work from home or freelance and can work around the uni hours, but simply can’t spare any time travelling, look at distance universities.
You can follow the same courses from the comfort (and convenience) of your home without commuting to campus or spending time in actual classroom and distance courses are often cheaper.
Some of the best universities for this are Portsmouth and Manchester as well as the London School of International Business.

Open University

If you want to go into Higher Education and want a safe and rather mainstream path, take a look at Open University classes.
You will need to dedicate a certain number of time to it, but the courses will be full of people in similar situations, coming back to education and juggling it with other responsibilities.

Evening classes

A university or postgrad course is not the only way to enhance your CV. If you are looking for a specific skill, look for evening classes. These will only take up and evening or two a week and you can keep your full-time job.
You can take anything from business classes to marketing, communication or help with IT or software you may need to get ahead.


The sentence “There’s an app for that” is almost always true. You can find most things in app-form so it’s portable and follows you everywhere during your busy schedule.
Whether you use a reading app to read through educational books or use a language app to work on a speaking skill (even if it is a starting point to get you into a higher level evening class). Apps are the soft start into learning a new skill because it works around you. Most apps even let you set reminders to make sure your training does not get forgotten on a busy day – and they are great for showing you your daily progress, which is great motivation.

Short courses

Not everything you want to learn takes requires a 3-year degree or apprenticeships. There are plenty of skills to learn in a few days or weeks – and there are intensive courses for most things!
This means, if there is something you are really keen to learn, think about what time you can afford to spend on it.

Can you spare one day a week? Are you willing to give up your weekends for a while? Can you even spend your annual leave working if it means getting the education you want?

Many professions – from yoga instructors to teaching English as a second language – have intensive courses which get you through the curriculum in a few weeks. It is hard work and will require your full attention, but you can fit it in during your time off without losing a penny or your wages.

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