Courses for carers

Courses specifically aimed at carers can be found through your local authority or nearby voluntary organisations and specialist training providers. They may also offer training for specific groups of carers such as parents, ethnic minority groups or carers looking after someone with a particular illness or disability.

These courses are often free or low in cost. Some are run locally while others are available online. The courses cover a variety of subjects, from practical support to dealing with specific conditions as well as hobby and interest courses.

Why do a course

Attending a course at a local centre can give you the opportunity to meet other carers and exchange your experiences and concerns. Learning new skills in a friendly environment can also improve your confidence and self-esteem.

Alternatively, you may prefer to do an online course, as these are more flexible and can be done at a time to suit you.

How to find out about local courses

You can contact your local authority or the Carers Trust for a list of courses available in your area. It may also be useful to contact an organisation specific to the illness or disability of the person you care for, to find out if they provide any relevant courses.

Looking after me

The Expert Patients Programme runs a free “Looking after me” course for carers who look after someone with a long-term condition or disability. It is designed to help you look after your own health needs and to take control of the situation you are in and improve it. The course looks at subjects like relaxation, dealing with tiredness, exercise and communicating with friends, family and professionals, as well as planning for the future.

The course is led by trained tutors who also have experience of caring for a relative or friend.

Learning for Living

City and Guilds runs an online learning programme for unpaid carers that aims to build on the skills carers and former carers have developed in caring roles. This includes developing your confidence, computer skills and helping to pave the way for further study or a return to a paid job.

The course leads to a qualification and is designed to support your personal development by helping you to identify the skills you already have.

You don’t have to take the qualification and the online resources can be used simply for your own interest. You can access Learning for Living in your own home (if you have internet access) or at a carers' centre, where the course may be offered free of charge. For more information about costs, email or talk to your local carers' centre to see if they can offer the course and whether there will be a charge.