Most popular courses revealed

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26 February 2019

Prisoner with PET brochure

2018 was another bumper year for distance learning in prison, with PET funding nearly 1800 learners to start or continue their learning journey. Here we do a rundown of the year’s ten most popular courses and hear from some of our learners.

Find all our courses here

1. Open University Access Modules

272 new learners

The OU offers a range of introductory Access modules that have been specially designed to help you find out what it’s like to study with the OU, get a taste of a subject area, and develop your study skills. We offer three modules: Arts and Languages (Y031), People, Work and Society (Y032), and Science, Technology and Maths (Y033).

Having been funded for an Access module, Egerton is now working as a Business Analyst in the financial sector. He told us: “Managing to come out of prison with a qualification was reaffirming to me, reinforcing my belief that I could achieve something even through difficult circumstances; but what really astounded me was how much employers really valued what I had achieved.”

2. Gym Instructing

66 new learners

This Level 2 certificate is the health and fitness industry’s most popular entry-level qualification and is the first step towards becoming a personal trainer. Working in gyms, leisure centres and health clubs can be varied and fast-paced – doing anything from performing inductions for members, maintaining exercise equipment, and planning sessions.

3. Essential Bookkeeping 

61 new learners

This course covers all the core elements of book-keeping, ensuring you have the knowledge you need to keep on top of your finances, whether for a business of your own, to boost your skills for work, or simply to manage your own money more effectively.

4. Business Start-Up

54 new learners

This is our most comprehensive course for learners interested in setting up their own business. The course lays out what’s needed to ensure that a business idea is viable and how to prepare to launch a venture – from creating your business plan, to choosing premises and developing strategies.

5. Plumbing Installation Theory 

45 new learners

This course takes you from the very basics of plumbing theory through all the job-related knowledge necessary to become a Trained Plumber (NVQ Level 2).

Funded by PET last year, Navid explains why he applied for the course: “I want to study Gas Safe/engineering once I am eligible for ROTL, however I have over a year until that can be made possible. The aim is to be well-prepared and have accurate and valid knowledge prior to taking on this route.”

5. Nutrition for Physical Activity 

41 new learners

Diet and nutrition are just as important as exercise when it comes to living a healthy life. Our Level 3 nutrition course is designed to equip learners with all the skills needed to assess the nutritional practices of clients and provide practical solutions to improve their dietary habits.

7. Substance Misuse Awareness and Counselling 

38 new learners

Many learners in prison develop an interest in counselling people who misuse drugs and alcohol, often wanting to use their experiences of addiction and recovery to help others. Our Substance Misuse Awareness and Counselling course leads to a nationally-recognised qualifications.

Funded last year, Emma’s motivation for applying mirrors many of our learners: “I’ve been around drugs from a young age in my family home and when I went into care. I’d like to help others who are in a vulnerable situation and who can’t help themselves.”

8. Construction Technologies Theory

30 new learners

This course is an ideal introduction for people wishing to progress towards supervisory or technician roles. The course leads to a Level 3 award and gives you a general grounding in the construction industry. You will learn about the industry from the ground up, starting with the design and planning process and exploring a range of traditional and modern construction methods.

9. Business AS and A Level 

24 new learners

A levels are internationally recognised qualifications which open up options for everyone who takes them. If you’re eager to run your own business, this A level could be the start of your journey – exploring the business environment, marketing, and ethics and developing your skills in decision-making and problem-solving. Other AS-Level and A Levels funded by PET include English Literature, Law, Mathematics and Psychology.

Funded for AS Level Business, Hassan speaks for many of our learners when describing his reasons for studying: “I really would like to learn new things and change the lifestyle I lived before coming to prison. I believe education is the key to a successful life.”

10. Counselling Skills

23 new learners

A good starting point for those new to counselling, this course introduces you to the use of counselling skills in everyday life as well as providing a widely recognised qualification. You will learn about diversity and ethics within counselling, the importance of self-development, and how to identify and practice a range of core counselling skills.

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