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These free courses and events are being part-funded by the European Social Fund, part of the European Structural and Investment Fund 2014-2020 Programme in England, and being delivered through the Widening Participation through Skills Project, project number 05S16P00538.

It was a great course - I did learn a lot that is useful for my work. It was great to have the full resources of the university available."

There was a great balance between lecture, discussion and activity. We were all given the opportunity to share our views and it was nice to see such an array of backgrounds initially. The staff were very friendly and helped everyone to feel as valued as each other in terms of their right to be there."

This project was extremely useful to me in my role and whilst challenging on an academic level, the tutor - Joanie Willett - presented the work clearly, insightfully and with magnificent enthusiasm."

Return to learning

Return to learning workshops

Return to learning workshops

Return to learning workshops

Return to learning workshops

Free short courses and taster days for people in Cornwall

Do you want to increase your knowledge and develop your skills for free?

The University of Exeter has a range of free courses and activities to offer those living in Cornwall. Our aim is to provide you with skills and knowledge to help you get the most from your current employment, enter a new job sector or find a route into study.

It may be that it’s a subject you want to learn more about. Or it may be that you want to take advantage of a fantastic opportunity to study for free and gain a level 3 or 4 accreditation worth 15 credits – equivalent to an A level or an undergraduate module. We want to make our courses and tasters as accessible as possible. We are supported by the European Social Fund and can often cover the cost of transport or childcare, so please ask.

Email us at returntolearning@exeter.ac.uk to register your interest or for any queries.

Please note that students in full-time education are not eligible for these Return to Learning courses and tasters.

Upcoming Courses:

Citizen Journalism: Penryn Campus

11 January – 5 April 2022 (12 weeks), Tuesdays (9.00-12.00 am), Penryn Campus. No class on 22 February for Half Term. 
This course is now full.

Free course for eligible participants.

The Citizen Journalism course has been developed out of our successful Citizen Journalism News Network course to offer learners a broad range of modern digital journalism skills. Supported by an academic supervisor, this course is structured into four learning blocks that offer participants the opportunity to steadily build up skills in the areas of:

  • Podcasting
  • Interactive Journalism
  • Audio Visual Journalism
  • Data Journalism

Journalism is a highly transferrable skill that is sought after in many different sectors and this course will provide you with experience that could lead to professional opportunities such as researcher, producer, editor or presenter. This is a fantastic and exciting chance to learn new skills or update your skillset whilst learning about how news stories are created and researched by making some of your own. The Citizen Journalism course will also take you on a journey to uncover the hidden news stories from inside your area.

Upon successful completion of this module you will receive a level 3 accreditation worth 15 credits, equivalent to one module of an undergraduate degree.

Like all our Return to Learning courses, this course has been specifically designed for adults who live in Cornwall, who are not students and who have the right to work. For those meeting the eligibility criteria, the course is fully subsidised and free of charge. We will ask for a participant form and ID.

Learning in the Time of Covid19

In the event that we need to step back from face-to-face teaching due to Covid restrictions, this course will be offered remotely.

Would you love to study on the course but might find it difficult because of your specific circumstances?

Please ask. We may be able to provide tailored support to eligible participants, for example with transport costs, childcare costs, needs arising from a disability or a specific learning need.

Future courses

Citizen Journalism will be offered at locations in Cornwall where demand is highest. We are committed to sharing this course far and wide, so if you’d like this course to be offered on your doorstep and you live in Cornwall, please get in touch. We plan to offer Citizen Journalism more than once in 2022, so do get in touch if you are interested.

To start the enrolment process, please provide your participant details here. Early booking is recommended as numbers on this course are limited.

If you have any further questions, please email: returntolearning@exeter.ac.uk.

British Politics: 31 January – 14 April 2022 (11 weeks) 

Distance learning.
Free course for eligible participants.

Upon successful completion of this module you will receive a level 4 accreditation worth 15 credits.

This course explores how British Politics are relevant to everyone who lives in Britain. It seeks to answer questions such as ‘What is politics and how can I shape it?’ ‘How much power do I really have?’ and looks at the whole picture of politics, as relevant in small rural communities as it is in the Houses of Parliament and Westminster.

This course will be delivered through a blend of self-led study and live remote teaching and includes an element of assessment. There will be opportunities to visit Penryn campus and meet others on the course.

Would you love to study on the course but might find it difficult because of your specific circumstances?

Please ask. We may be able to provide tailored support (including financial support) to eligible participants, for example childcare costs, needs arising from a disability or a specific learning need.

To start the enrolment process, please provide your participant details here.

If you have any further questions, please email: returntolearning@exeter.ac.uk.

An Introduction to Renewable Energy: May – July 2022 (12 weeks) - course dates to be confirmed

Distance learning with field trips.
Free course for eligible participants.

Upon successful completion of this module you will receive a level 3 accreditation worth 15 credits.

This introductory course is intended for anyone who’d like to have a better understanding of renewable energy, whether for career development, potential future study or interest.

It begins with scientific definition of energy and a definition of renewable energy. It sets out briefly the historical overview of the energy landscape, before focusing onto the seven main sources of renewable energy: solar, wind, wave, hydro, biomass, tidal and geothermal energy. For each of the seven sources of renewable energy, the scale and magnitude of the resource are considered, and the variety of technologies available to harvest and employ that energy resource are examined at an introductory level.

The module is suitable for anyone who has a good basic understanding of general physics. There are some straightforward mathematical calculations to quantify energy outputs.

This course will be delivered through a blend of self-led study and live remote teaching and includes an element of assessment. There will be opportunities to visit Penryn campus and two field trips to discover more about the local renewable energy landscape in Cornwall.

Professor Richard Cochrane talked to Falmouth’s radio station Source FM on 14 July and you can listen here as he discusses renewable energyand this new course.

Would you love to study on the course but might find it difficult because of your specific circumstances?

Please ask. We may be able to provide tailored support (including financial support) to eligible participants, for example with transport, childcare costs, needs arising from a disability or a specific learning need.

To start the enrolment process, please provide your participant details here.

If you have any further questions, please email: returntolearning@exeter.ac.uk.

Climate Literacy: Course dates to be confirmed

Distance learning.
Free course for eligible participants.

Upon successful completion of this module you will receive a level 3 accreditation.

In the context of a climate and environmental emergency, it’s widely recognised that we need to change our behaviour. This course is for anyone who wants to learn more about the need for change and the means for change.

This Climate Literacy course aims to provide knowledge, understanding and tools that are vital to help us embed the necessary changes into our everyday lives, as we live work and study.

We will look at the science behind climate change and assess the impacts of climate change on our environment, locally, regionally and globally. We will look at how we can make simple changes with meaningful outcomes to acheive a lower carbon and a more resource efficient footprint.

Course content:

  • The science behind climate change
  • Climate emission contributors, industries and activities which generate carbon at home, at work, as we travel and due to what we buy
  • Review of climate injustice, climate activism and regulatory/government responses to climate change
  • Review of practical tools and resources to aid decision making and focus on areas for change

The course will be delivered through a blend of self-guided study, distance learning and face-to-face sessions, with a chance to meet your fellow students. There will be an element of assessment.

Would you love to study on one of our courses but might find it difficult because of your specific circumstances?

Please ask. We may be able to provide tailored support (including financial support) to eligible participants, for example with transport, childcare costs, needs arising from a disability or a specific learning need.

To start the enrolment process, please provide your participant details here.

If you have any further questions, please email: returntolearning@exeter.ac.uk.

Previous Events:

Monday 21 June 6.00-7.30pm

What can we learn from ancient Amazonian farming practices? How might they help us protect the rainforest and its people today? Professor José Iriarte is an archaeologist and archaeobotanist at the University of Exeter. He’ll be talking about his own experiences and how the past can benefit the present. Prof Iriarte's research has been highlighted in National Geographic, New Scientist and the BBC. Join us for this fascinating online talk with a chance to ask questions.

Tasters are free and subsidised to people who live in Cornwall, UK (after completing a participant form with ID.) Please contact returntolearning@exeter.ac.uk to book your place.

Wednesday 23 June 6.00-7.30pm

Wind turbines, solar energy, low carbon heat and energy storage – all your questions answered. This lively, interactive talk will give you the opportunity to find out about the latest developments in renewables. Prof Richard Cochrane of the University of Exeter is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Energy Institute with a passion for Renewable Energy and Engineering Design. Join us at this evening event and bring your questions!

Tasters are free and subsidised to people who live in Cornwall, UK (after completing a participant form with ID.) Please contact returntolearning@exeter.ac.uk to book your place.


Thursday 24 June 10.00-11.30am

Be the change you want to see in your community. This lively and inspiring online talk will help give you tips, tricks and a greater understanding of what it means to make your views heard and be an agent of change. Dr Joanie Willett is a Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Exeter. Bring your coffee, your curiosity and your questions.

Tasters are free and subsidised to people who live in Cornwall, UK (after completing a participant form with ID.) Please contact returntolearning@exeter.ac.uk to book your place.

Friday 25 June 10.00-11.30am

Interested in what numbers can do? And what they can’t? Join us online to find out more about the highs and lows of data modelling with Professor Stuart Townley of the University of Exeter. Bring your coffee, your curiosity and your questions.

Tasters are free and subsidised to people who live in Cornwall, UK (after completing a participant form with ID.) Please contact returntolearning@exeter.ac.uk to book your place.

Friday 25 June 6.00-7.30pm & Tuesday 29 June 6.00-7.30pm

Solar energy has come of age but there is still much to be explored. How can solar energy benefit you, your home, Cornwall and the wider world? With new materials being developed all the time, what are the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly solutions? Join us at this evening event and find out. Bring your questions and your curiosity.

Tasters are free and subsidised to people who live in Cornwall, UK (after completing a participant form with ID.) Please contact returntolearning@exeter.ac.uk to book your place.

Saturday 26 June 10.00-11.30am

This interactive online lecture will provide a fascinating journey through the weird and wonderful world of insects with Professor Chris Bass from the University of Exeter as your guide. Bring your coffee, your curiosity and your questions.

Tasters are free and subsidised to people who live in Cornwall, UK (after completing a participant form with ID.) Please contact returntolearning@exeter.ac.uk to book your place.

Wednesday 30 June 10.00-11.30am

Everything you ever wanted to know about diamonds and gemstones but were afraid to ask! Find out how these beautiful stones are formed, how far some have travelled and what factors lead to them being the hardest substances on earth and the most beautiful. Aveen Hameed, Lecturer in Mining and Geology at the University of Exeter will be delving into these mysteries in a special online event for people in Cornwall. Bring your coffee, your curiosity and your questions.

Tasters are free and subsidised to people who live in Cornwall, UK (after completing a participant form with ID.) Please contact returntolearning@exeter.ac.uk to book your place.

Wednesday 30 June 6.00-7.30pm - Please note that the date has been changed for this event.

Do you have a favourite Cornish song? Can you speak Cornish? How’s your Cornish history? In Cornwall we are steeped in a rich cultural heritage which for many remains shrouded in mystery.

Come along to this online expert lecture by Dr Garry Tregidga, Director of the Institute of Cornish Studies who will shine a light on Cornwall’s unique heritage. Bring your questions!

Tasters are free and subsidised to people who live in Cornwall, UK (after completing a participant form with ID.) Please contact returntolearning@exeter.ac.uk to book your place.

Previous Courses:

Political Participation in My Community

Over the process of the course you will learn academic knowledge around political and local participation, be introduced to debates about appropriate methods for undertaking research, and learn practical skills such as designing and conducting research and writing your findings into an accessible report. You will learn how to integrate academic theory with ‘real world’ practice, producing a piece of work that has the potential to be of real benefit to your community.

This is an undergraduate level course and upon successful completion of this module you will receive a level 4 qualification worth 15 credits. More here.

As with all our courses and tasters, if you need support with transport, childcare costs or other barriers to learning, please get in touch, as we may be able to help.

Citizen Journalism News Network: 12 weeks, March – July 2019.

This course consists of 12 sessions learning the skills required to research, write, read and record the important new stories from in and around your area. Each week of the course is structured to offer participants the opportunity to steadily build up skills that could lead to professional broadcasting roles such as researcher, editor, producer and presenter. Supported by media professionals and academic supervisors you will learn skills such as news gathering, audio recording, editing and writing scripts. We’re delighted to be working with three local radio stations: CHBN Radio in Truro, Radio Newquay and Source FM in Falmouth.

As with all our courses and tasters, if you need support with transport, childcare costs or other barriers to learning, please get in touch, as we may be able to help. This is an undergraduate level course and upon successful completion of this module you will receive a level 3 accreditation worth 15 credits. More here.

 Real World Mathematics: February - May 2018

Working alongside a team of mathematical academics and students, you will be immersed in problem-solving and use maths to explore key issues such as: How do diseases spread? What is “high risk” of flooding? How does Amazon® minimise its delivery costs?

This is an undergraduate level course that provides a taster of “university maths”. Upon successful completion of this module you will receive accreditation.

Mining 101: Monday 16 July to Friday 5 October 2018

The course will provide an introduction to the mining life cycle and allow you to gain a broad understanding of the mining industry. This will be an undergraduate level 3 course and upon successful completion of this module you will receive accreditation.

            

Book your place

To register or find out more about any of the above courses or higher education information events please contact: returntolearning@exeter.ac.uk.

How do I know if I’m eligible?

Our Return to Learning courses and tasters are part-funded by the European Social Fund and can be enjoyed for free if you:

  • Live in Cornwall or the Isles of Scilly
  • Are not currently a student
  • Have the right to work

To meet the requirements of our funding provider, we ask you to submit a signed participant form and provide ID. The ID we ask for is one of the following:

  • A current valid passport
  • A National Insurance card or certificate
  • A letter from HMRC
  • A birth certificate

If you are studying on a course with us, we will also invite you to register with the University, meaning that you will become a University of Exeter student for a short period. As a University of Exeter student you will have access to our online learning environment and the University Library.

The ESF Widening Participation through Skills Project Policies

ESF WPTS Sustainable Development Policy

ESF WPTS Gender Equality and Equal Opportunities Policy