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Learning New Skills

You may want to learn new skills to improve your chances of getting a new job or want to feel more confident in using computers. If so, there are organisations that can help, offering courses, free internet access and even affordable computers for those on benefits.

Below is a list of organisations who may be able to help you depending on any eligibility criteria in place:

Learndirect offer a variety of courses that may be of interest to you. These courses cover a range of subjects including English, Maths, Computers and IT, Job-seeking and Employability and Life Skills. Learndirect courses are held in a variety of locations across the North West and some course can even be studied in your own home. Many of the courses are free.
Many libraries have computers where you can access the internet, often for free. To do this, you usually need to book a slot first. You may also be able to sign up for a computer course. Go to for more details.
Post Office
For those of you who want to purchase an affordable computer, the Post Office have a scheme to offer refurbished computers at an affordable price, eg £99 for those on benefits. They also have broadband deals which may be of interest. contains over 3,000 tools, including downloadable guides, certificates, posters and learning resources to help with basic online skills. They have a map with thousands of UK Wi-Fi hotspots, computer access points and digital champions who are willing and able to share their skills with others.
Barclays Digital Eagles
Our main banker, Barclays, provides practical help and advice on developing you and your family’s internet skills.
A scheme provided by Barclays Bank that aims to help young people learn about managing money, getting a job and developing people skills.

Start you own business

If you want to start up your own business, there is also help and support for you. Blue Orchid can provide advice and support to the self-employed.

For tax advice HMRC has a number of online services to help people wanting to start their own business.

Starting Your Own Business E-learning tool
Got a lot of questions about tax, National Insurance, business records and expenses?
Becoming an employer
Taking on staff?
HMRC You Tube Channel
These videos are designed to help HMRC customers understand tax and comply with the rules.
HMRC webinars
Online seminars for businesses and the self-employed.
Budgeting for payment of Tax & National Insurance Contributions
A tool to provide guidance as to how much money to set aside for Tax/National Insurance.