Learn A New Skill For Free

We look at some of the best free online courses you can take during lockdown which have nothing to do with booze.

The bad news is we have at least six weeks left of this (and, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, almost definitely a bit more than that) and with 8 weeks behind us any novelty is well and truly in the rear-view mirror. Every video of someone making a cocktail has been watched, every cocktail book you owned has been read for the third time, you’ve tried and failed to make something nice with that bottle of Cambodian Rice Wine someone left in your cupboard once and you’d rather experiment with a straight razor shave of your personal space using a convex mirror, than bring yourself to watch any of the Tales of the Cocktail videos.

In short you’re bored.

The good news is we’re hitting summer, which will make any time spent outside a lot more pleasant (although it will mean suffering through a series of top 10 fucking ice-cream lists on Facebook). The other good news is that there are a whole load of online courses that have been made free during lockdown for you to explore.

The truth is there is a whole world of useful information out there that doesn’t relate to dilution or mash tuns. There is also a lot of courses that will help your hospitality career that don’t involve liquid, and even more for those who want to explore something completely new (whether to give more options post lockdown or just out of curiosity).

So we have had a look at a few of those out there to give you a start on the search, but please bear in mind these are not the only courses available so if you don’t find what you want here, do your own research and you’ll probably find something.

The Open University has a bunch of free courses available currently covering things like business and languages (potentially hospitality useful) to education, politics, science and more. Their courses tend to be quite long in the time it takes to complete, but everyone knows the Open University and therefore looks good on your CV. A full list of their free courses can be found here

National Careers is a government run site and has a section with free courses specifically on digital and numeracy skills. They come in three levels from introductory to advanced, with the completion time reflected in the difficulty. From creating online content to digital marketing and also including coding, there are plenty of options for those wanting to expand their digital brain.

Future Learn is a very popular platform in the UK featuring courses by some of the country’s top universities. They have put a few dozen of their courses up for free and whilst much of the content won’t be relevant it is definitely worth a look for the quality of course you’ll be receiving. You’ll find courses on presenting (great for comps and anyone looking at brand work), social media skills (useful in all walks of life these days) as well as wellbeing and much more. The list of free courses can be found here

Coursera is the US equivalent of Future Learn using universities from over the pond. As with all things American it is more complicated that it needs to be but this link will give you the list of free courses as well as how to gain access to them. There are some pretty weird courses available – The Truth About Cats & Dogs (a look at Uma Thurman’s career as told by animals?) and Robotica (writing porn for robots?). Skipping through though will reveal plenty of options covering mindfulness, languages, coding and creative thinking.

When it comes to learning from experts for free however there is still one stand out fella and his name is TED. For years he has been getting some seriously clever people to talk in extremely user-friendly terms about a huge array of subjects. This is very different from a lot of the other ‘courses’ above as it is simply a watch a listen, but if you want to dip your toe in the water before jumping into a course, to expand your knowledge as you go through your course, or just prefer this way of learning then TED Talks are always worth a look.

Finally, an often forgotten but amazing resource. If you are looking for more hands-on skills or want to build some shit (sorry for the technical terminology, I considered building a wall and got a bit into it) then YouTube is still your friend. Simply type in ‘How to’ followed by whatever you want to know and there will be someone of indeterminant skill level to help. If you are dealing with electrics you might want to check 2 or even 3 videos before deciding which wire to cut but hey that’s part of the fun of YouTube.

Have a look. You never know something might jump out at you. If they were open we would 100% of added libraries to this list, but sadly at the moment they are a no go.

Oh and for the record:

Top Ten Favourite Ice-Creams


1 – Fuck Off (with a flake)