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Learning for professional development is useful for people who already have certain expertise and want up-skill to move to a better job (perhaps a bit of an oblique move in some case!) or improve their career prospects in the company they are currently employed in. 

We've divided professional development courses up into two types of courses:

Short Professional Courses

Short courses might take place over the course of a day to and week and take place during office hours. These short courses are good at giving you an understanding of something you might come into contact with at work, but know little about, for example you might look at attending a course on social media marketing or Google analysitcs as when you entered the profession ten years ago these disciplines didn't exist and now they are useful to understand!

These courses will be quite specific, but their subjects might include the law, property, marketing, business, leadership, statistics, computing or project management. 

Depending on the length of the course they might costs anything between £100 - £1,000, however if you feel as though the course is going to benefit your professional career and your career path with the company you could try neotiating with them to help subsidised or pay for it. 

These courses may often be offered by a professional body, or take place in your local college or university. 

To find courses, please see:

National Qualifications

National qualifications are those that, compared to short courses, take place over a longer period. This may be a year, even two years, generally offered part-time, and they results in a recognised high-level qualification, for example a Postgraduate Diploma. 

The main reason you'll want to undertake one of these national qualifications is to show off your skills to your employers which will help you advance in your career either in your current employment or when looking for a new job. For example, you may complete a course which gives you chartered status, and the courses are most likely to be awarded to you by professional bodies, such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the British Association for Counselling and Pyschotherapy, or the Digital Marketing Institute.

To apply for this type of course you'll need expertise in the area through work experience and a relevant degree.

To find a course you can either contact your local university and see whether they offer a course or the professional body you will be associated with to see where the courses are. Some local colleges also provide courses. You can also look up courses via:

The cost of your couse will depend on where you undertake it and what level of qualification you achieve, but as a ball-park figure PGCerts cost approximately £3,000 while PGDips cost approximately £6,000. If this sounds like a pricey figure, you may be able to negotiate with your current employer if you feel as though the qualification will improve your professional ability in the long run, and you are willing to stay with them. 

Additionally, you could look at applying for a professional and career development loan where you can borrow up to £10,000. For more information on the loan, please see our Lifelong Learning Funding.