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Adult education: organisations which give information and advice

Where to find information about local adult education

Information about local adult education is available from:-

  • colleges
  • libraries
  • the local education authority (LEA) (the Education Authority in Northern Ireland).

This information lists organisations which give advice and information about, or run, adult education courses. Many produce information leaflets or guides to courses which can be bought from the organisation if they are not available in a local library.

General UK organisations


England and Wales

Dearing House
1 Young Street
South Yorkshire
S1 4UP

Learndirect helpline: 0800 101 901

Learndirect provides a network of centres across England and Wales where people can learn new skills, gain qualifications and get tutor support.  They offer courses and qualifications ranging from English, maths and IT to employability skills as well as vocational qualifications and, in selected locations, apprenticeships.

Skills Development Scotland

Skills Development Scotland
Monteith House
11 George Square
G2 1DY

Advice for individuals: 0800 917 8000 (Monday to Sunday from 9.00am to 5.30pm)
Employer helpline: 0800 783 6000 (Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 5.00pm)
Tel: 0141 285 6000 (head office)
Website: and

Skills Development Scotland provides advice for people at school, choosing training, furthering their education, deciding upon a career or managing their career. They also provide services for employers and organisations that provide training courses. My World of Work is a web service provided by Skills Development Scotland which offers tools and job information to help people discover more about themselves and the future world of work.

Eligible people can also apply for funding towards their course, through Individual Learning Accounts (ILAs). Individual Learning Accounts are changing in 2017. No new applications will be accepted after mid-May. If you already have an ILA and you wish to apply for a course you should do so before 30 June 2017. The course must start on or before 30 September 2017. For more information, see the My World of Work website at ILAs will be replaced with Individual Training Accounts in October 2017 and new applications can be made then. 

The Open University


Central Enquiry Service
PO Box 197
Milton Keynes MK7 6BJ
Tel: 0845 300 6090
Fax: 01908 654914



18 Custom House Street
Cardiff CF10 1AP
Tel: 029 2047 1019
Fax: 029 2038 8132


10 Drumsheugh Gardens
Edinburgh EH3 7QJ
Tel: 0131 226 3851
Fax: 0131 220 6730

Northern Ireland

40 University Road
Belfast BT7 1SU
Tel: 028 9024 5025
Fax: 028 9023 0565

The Open University was created to meet the needs of part-time students who wish to take a course leading to a qualification such as a diploma or degree. Students study at home and are provided by the University with study materials.

Learning Welsh

If you want to learn Welsh, or you are already learning, there is a website to help you. You can find information on courses, qualifications and learning resources online at:

Workers’ Educational Association (WEA)


Quick House
65 Clifton Street
London EC2A 4JE
Tel: 020 7426 3450
Fax: 020 7426 3451


Riddles Court
322 Lawnmarket
Edinburgh EH 2PG
Tel: 0131 226 3456
Fax: 0131 220 0306


Coleg Harlech WEA
Gwynedd LL46 2PU
Tel: 01766 780363

Northern Ireland

1-3 Fitzwilliam Street
Belfast BT9 6AW
Tel: 028 9032 9718
Fax: 028 9023 0306

The Workers’ Education Association has local branches which run day, evening and residential courses and summer schools. Details of the local branches are available from the address above. The newspaper ‘WEA NEWS’, which is available from the London Office, is useful for general information.

Distance learning and home study courses

Open and Distance Learning Quality Council

16 Park Crescent
London W1B 1AH
Tel: 020 7612 7090
Fax: 020 7612 7092

The Open and Distance Learning Quality Council (ODLQC) sets standards for distance learning and home study courses. Providers of these courses can register with the ODLQC if they meet the ODLQC's standards. The ODLQC regularly monitors providers of these courses to make sure they are providing a good service. They can give you a list and details of the colleges that they have assessed.

Association of British Correspondence Colleges

PO Box 17926
London SW19 3WB
Tel: 020 8544 9559
Fax: 020 8540 7657

The Association of British Correspondence Colleges is a voluntary association of correspondence colleges which comply with a code of ethics guaranteeing certain standards of service in their dealings with students. If you are interested in joining a correspondence course it can advise you on which would be the most suitable.

Organisations for disabled students

Disability Rights UK

Disability Rights UK produce a range of information including the Disability Rights Handbook, an annual guide to welfare benefits and services.

They run the Disabled Students Helpline which provides free information and advice to disabled students in England, their parents, carers and key advisers about opportunities in post-16 education and training. This includes further and higher education and apprenticeships. They also provide general information on the Equality Act as it applies to education and give advice on students' entitlement to welfare benefits.

Tel: 0800 328 5050
Tues 11.30am to 1.30pm and Thurs 1.30pm to 3.30pm


Lead Scotland - Linking education and disability

Lead Scotland gives information and advice on educational opportunities for disabled people in Scotland. An organiser can visit you at home to draw up an action list plan and provide follow up support through the learning period.

Lead Scotland
Queen Margaret University College
Clerwood Terrace
EH12 8TS
Tel: 0131 317 3939
Fax: 0131 339 7198
Freephone: 0800 100 900 (ask for ‘Lead Scotland’)

Organisations for employees and trade union members


Congress House
Great Russell Street
Tel: 020 7079 6820
Learning and Careers Adviceline: 0800 092 9190
Fax: 020 7079 6921

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) Education Service, called Unionlearn, runs courses for shop stewards, union officers and health and safety representatives. If you are a member of a trade union, contact your own union initially to find out what courses it offers.

Wales TUC Learning Services

Transport House
1 Cathedral Road
Cardiff CF1 9SD
Tel: 029 2034 7010
Fax: 029 2022 1940

Wales TUC Learning Services is a department within the Wales TUC. Their role is to provide support to trade unions in Wales enabling them to provide opportunities for their members and to influence education and training policy in Wales.

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