Higher learning links

This is a very brief selection of relevant web pages and resources available in PDF form, aimed those advising adults about work-based HE progression routes.

These sites provide information, guidelines for thinking through individual circumstances and needs and step-by-step checklists to help people to make decisions. However most sites will advise learners to do extensive research for themselves and to get some professional advice and guidance before making a choice.

Gov.uk Apprenticeships

Working people are finding that an apprenticeship can be a stepping stone to higher level qualifications such as Foundation degrees, HNDs and degrees, all of which they can undertake in the workplace. There are also Higher Apprenticeships and apprenticeship places for adults and this site provides information about progression.

Unionlearn apprenticeships

The TUC is running an apprenticeship project. The main focus of the project is developing the TUC’s existing policy on apprenticeships and supporting affiliate unions’ work on apprenticeships across the country.

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The unionlearn Climbing frame

This is a free website for Union Learning reps (ULRs) to help them in their role of supporting learners in the workplace. This has been designed to help ULRs to carry out their role effectively and to help to bring learning into the workplace. There is a Higher Learning theme on the Climbing Frame, and also a Learning Themes about Personal Development and Career Planning.



Lifepilot is a website for adults based in the South West who may be considering higher learning. It provides information about preparing for study, finance and the application process, as well as information about local higher education institutions and courses.

Money Saving Expert

Easy to understand tips and guides from the official task force can be downloaded here, which explain fees and funding for higher learning.


National Careers Service

Advisers can refer people to this free national service delivered by telephone, face to face, and online. Its a free, impartial, confidential service which helps people to develop new skills, improve their prospects at work or change jobs. The website includes links to a course search, skills inventory, CV builder and job profiles.

Open University


The flexibility of OU courses makes them suitable for working people. In addition to degree courses, the OU offers Foundation degrees, CPD courses and higher level opportunities such as Masters courses and PGCEs. Free taster courses are available. The careers area of the website has a link to the windmills programme which has a virtual careers coach and a careers fitness check, helpful for people in work who want to progress their career.

Lifelong Learning Networks (LLNs)

The work of the national network of LLNs finished in July 2011, but they have left a legacy of a range of regional and sectoral resources about vocational and work-based learning and progression to HE. Some of these may now be out of date but contain useful general resources. Use with care!

Student Finance England


This is a practitioner site for advisers who can refer people to apply online to finance their studies.

Information for learners is available on the GOV.UK site, which also provides information and links for those eligible for other types of finance such as Career Development Loans.


The Student Room

This is an online forum about all aspects of studying at HE level including an area with a focus on mature students, and current information about student finance.


Advisers can use this site to search for courses and refer people to apply online for university places. There is an adviser guide to finding the right course and clear information about helping people to apply. Potential learners can also undertake the Stamford Test, which matches interests and abilities to HE courses. There is a link from the homepage to UNISTATS, which allows people to compare courses and institutions.

Not going to uni

This is a website for learners who would prefer to do higher learning at work rather than run up a debt by going to college full time. It includes information about job and apprenticeship vacancies and about courses you can do at work.

Career Pilot

This is another website for young people about working and learning at a higher level. Useful if you are supporting apprentices.