Learning Directory

Learning Directory


Have you been thinking about learning new skills? Are you looking for new learning opportunities or specific training?


We have compiled this list of learning providers and most of them offer free online options to help you get started. Please do contact us if you have something to add to this list or if we can support your application for future learning.

SAU Learning Organisers  |  Ben Callaghan (Lowlands & Uplands) & Kirsten Body (Highlands & Islands)  |  [email protected]

Trade Union Learning

TUC Education organise free accredited courses in Scotland either in person at City of Glasgow College or online via Fife College. They cover workplace issues like Employment Law in Scotland, Health & Safety, and Mental Health Awareness. Although these courses are aimed at Union Reps any SAU members can take part. If you’d like to attend a course you can book a place via their Eventbrite but it’s important to inform SAU Learning Organisers to endorse your application. Please email us via [email protected]


STUC (Scottish Trades Union Congress) organised regular free lectures and courses around topics Cost of Living, Just Transition. Recently Jane McAlevey share more information about the Organizing for Power online course which you can watch on You Tube here. Find out more via STUC's past newsletters & join the mailing list here.


Scottish Union Learning regularly organise free learning for union members and they currently have a series of Pre-Retirement courses programmed across Highlands & Islands in 2024. During the Covid-19 pandemic they ran a series of webinars to support trade unions in accessing skills and lifelong learning and you can watch these recordings via their Crowdcast page. 

Individual Learning

Microcredentials are university level online professional development short courses designed to help you build professional skills; accredited by the Open University. They take an average of 10-12 weeks of online study to complete and an estimated 9-12 hours of learning per week. There are a limited number of free places for those based in Scotland on courses like Business management: financial accounting for non-financial roles and Mental health: working with children and young people or Mentoring and coaching.  The current deadline for applications is 19 May 2024


Open Learn is an easy to navigate online learning experience and has over 1000 free courses and bite-sized learning delivered on the Open University's platform. There is a dedicated section for History & The Arts and all courses are rated introductory, intermediate or advanced to help you choose the right level for you. Earn digital certificates while working at your own pace.


WEA (Workers' Educational Association) run a number of online training courses and many are focussed on developing creative skills and aspects of art history as well as practical business skills like Beginners Excel and Spreadsheets. Most of these courses are subsidised by the government making them very affordable however they can offer free learning if financial considerations make it not possible to attend.


UnionLearn has developed an online directory pulling information from a number of learning providers. Many of the courses have video content to work through in your own time and a quick search of the ‘Creative Arts & Media’ section brought up Adobe design courses, creative writing and contemporary museum education. You can browse the full directory of free courses here.


Social Enterprise Academy provides learning and development opportunities for organisations enabling social change in Scotland and they are now offering individual spaces on their open programmes.

SAU member Mhairi Braden is the Programme Coordinator and they're recommending Developing My Leadership - a 6-day programme to help those in established or aspiring leadership roles to figure out what your organisation actually needs, how to manage change and motivate others (cost £750).  "I know that for freelance artists it is often tricky to see yourself as a leader either within workshops or communities, and from seeing some of our past programme's feedback on how the course has helped others - I think it could be a great learning & development opportunity for the SAU network."  Mairi Braden, contact  [email protected] 


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