Searching for a job takes its toll – especially if you’ve been looking for months or years and are still unemployed. Many lose motivation and along with it, their drive to be productive.
However, one thing you can do to occupy yourself and make yourself more employable at the same time is to learn new skills by taking part in free online courses.
I can learn online for free? Really?
Yes, really! There are many online courses and learning portals – some of which are run by top universities – and yes, they are FREE!
So, while being unemployed is frustrating, the upside is that you have the opportunity to study and learn new skills at your own pace. This is a luxury you won’t have once you get a job as you might be tired after a day’s work and from commuting.
Not only will the new skills look good on your CV, employers will see that you are ambitious and have a desire to grow and are not afraid of challenges. Students who engage in online or distance learning programmes demonstrate time management skills, personal accountability and discipline which are seen favourably by employers and will help you stand out from the sea of other job seekers.
You can study topics related to your career choice, niche or critical skills such as programming or general skills such as business communication, writing, Microsoft Excel, etc.
What about data costs?
If data costs are a concern, visit your local library as many national libraries now offer free internet access for local community members. Certain youth development centres also allow to access the internet at no cost for the purposes of studying and job-searching.
Alternatively, you can hop onto the free Wi-Fi offered at selected malls, restaurants and retail stores using your smartphone.
How do I get started?
Here are just a few of the top free online study programmes that are available :
- MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, are free online courses available for anyone to enrol. MOOCs provide an affordable and flexible way to learn new skills, advance your career and delivers quality educational experiences at scale. Universities that offer MOOCs include the University of Cape Town, UNISA, Harvard University through Harvardx Courses, and Yale University’s Open Yale Courses, among many others. To find a list of MOOCs and MOOC providers, go to https://www.mooc-list.com/
- MOOV (Massive Open Online Varsity) is a project of Vulindlel’eJozi aimed at creating access to smart education to eliminate factors such as distance and costs associated with obtaining an education. MOOV is a local forum which harnesses the global phenomenon of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). MOOV offers students the opportunity to pursue this type of learning in a campus environment. MOOV students follow structured learning paths and are provided with the support to succeed.
- Codecademy is a website dedicated specifically to teaching coding. This is a great site for anyone interested in learning or improving their IT programming skills. While other coding sites follow an example/practice session workflow, Codecademy includes a live practice window. This means you can practice coding while still viewing the lesson material and see the results of your code live on the screen! Codecademy also features a centralised dashboard that allows you to monitor your progress, plus it organises lessons into complete modules. Website: https://www.codecademy.com
- Coursera.org is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world to make learning accessible online. This brings a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database. As a result, the website has a wide range of in-depth courses. Coursera is very useful if you’re looking to study many different topics, or are interested in courses from different schools and groups. Website: Coursera.org
- Udemy’s free courses are similar in concept to Coursera’s but allows users to build custom courses from lessons. Working with many top professors and schools, the site mixes the customisable platform of other sites with a heavy emphasis on top quality content. This is site mixes free and paid content meaning that not all the courses are free. Website: https://www.udemy.com/
- Digital Skills for Africa is a Google initiative in conjunction with various training partners, which aims to train young people in Africa in digital skills. Digital Skills for Africa aims to empower both students and entrepreneurs with skills such as running an online business, social media, coding and interview skills. Website: https://learndigital.withgoogle.com/digitalskills
- The Khan Academy is a non-profit educational organisation that provides free video tutorials and interactive exercises. The Academy’s declared mission is “changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education to anyone anywhere.” Khan Academy is a great place to brush up on your maths, science and language skills and so much more. Website: https://www.khanacademy.org/ Many of their videos are available on their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/khanacademy
- Alison is a free educational site that provides certification in some areas. Alison offers courses mainly in business, technology, and health, but also includes language learning courses. Website: https://alison.com/
- Academic Earth believes that everyone deserves access to a world-class education. They offer a comprehensive collection of free online college courses from global leading universities, with dozens of disciplines and courses to choose from. Website: https://academicearth.org/
Knowledge – and the opportunities that it brings – are right at your fingertips. Take advantage of these opportunities to upskill yourself and become more employable. Once you’ve completed courses and learned new skills, remember to update your CV and profile at a Lulaway Job Centre.