Business student and lecturer

Adult Learning

21 June 2024

If you’ve come to a crossroads in your life and are considering going back into education as an adult, your journey starts again at the RNN Group.

As one of South Yorkshire’s leading education providers, we’re here to help you on your path to learning no matter your age. Whether you’re 25, 55 or 85, it’s never too late to become an RNN student and reap the rewards of studying with us.

What’s so good about being an adult learner?

When you’re 16, going to college feels like something you’re made to do. But learning as an adult is your choice to dive into something you have a real passion for.

Your priorities change with age. What job you dreamed of having as a teenager might look a whole lot different from what life experience has taught you suits you better.

The thought of being a college student when you’re well past your teenage years can be daunting. But it shows true courage; you’re taking life by the horns and have got the focus and determination to become the person you want to be.

Our adult courses here at RNN Group span all levels from beginner to degree level that can be done full or part-time at one of our four campuses: Rotherham College, North Notts College, Dearne Valley College and University Centre Rotherham.

Joel is an adult learner who has just finished the part-time level 1 carpentry and joinery course. The 22-year-old studied with us two evenings a week.

Joel said:

“I joined the course to develop and improve my skills and knowledge in joinery in a safe and controlled environment. It was extremely helpful and provided me with all the support I needed. I want to move on to the Level 2 course in Joinery and eventually find a workplace that uses the skills I’ve gained through this course.”

Or if you’re unsure about making such a big commitment to learning, why not dip you toe into the education pool by taking a short hobby or interest course that can be completed online or in the community in a few days or months?

A graphic design student sat in front of an Apple Mac

What are the adult learning options at RNN Group?

Whether you want to gain skills for a new career, improve your chance of promotion in an existing job, or just embark on new learning for the fun of it, we have a number of adult learning options you can choose from.

Many options are free or have funding available for adults over 19. Find the full list for 2024/25 in our adults’ course guide.

Access to HE Courses

For those who want to go onto Higher Education but don’t already have a level 3 qualification. We offer Access courses in subjects like art and design, computing, criminology and policing and health science professions.


Not just for school leavers, an Apprenticeship can be done at any age as there’s no upper age limit. They’re a great option if you know what industry you want to work in and would prefer to earn a wage while studying.

Community Courses

These are short, informal sessions that we hold weekly in the community at venues like libraries and community centres. They’re based around improving your wellbeing include skills like crochet, flower arranging, paper crafts and cake decorating. Some last for eight or nine weeks, but during the summer they can be one-off sessions.

Distance Learning

We have around 40 different level 2 distance learning courses that you can choose from. They tend to be focused on specific qualifications needed for health and social care, business admin or retail roles. Our distance learning courses are all free and are done online around your other commitments.

Employment Support Courses

If you’re a job seeker, you can take part in one of our free short courses that will boost your CV. They include things like customer service, cleaning, mental health awareness, and warehousing and forklift truck. The employment support courses usually last for a week and take place face-to-face at college.

Essential Skills

Whether you want to finally get your GCSE maths or English at level C/4, or need to brush up on your digital skills to help you at work, we offer these free essential skill courses for adult learners.

Short Summer Courses

Are you a teacher or parent that’s going to be off work more in the summer months? Rediscover your love of learning, top up your skills and escape the boredom with a free skills-based course. Some are just for a couple of hours, while others are a couple of days long and include things like computer skills, hair styling and make up application, garment making and photography.

Study Programmes

These are our full and part-time further education courses that are available to both school leavers and adults over 19. All three of our Colleges have their own adults’ courses that they run, covering various industries. Just some examples include things like ACCA, animal management, preparing to work in schools or early years settings, construction courses, counselling, health science, and personal training or fitness instruction.

If you’re interested in a career in hair and beauty, we have a brilliant range of level 3 and 4 courses in treatments like sports massage, threading, make up and face painting, microblading, laser therapy and skin peels.

Photography students working on a project

What support is available for adult learners at RNN Group?

We’re an inclusive organisation here at RNN Group. We’re committed to ensuring learning of all ages grow in confidence, learn new skills and gain the qualifications needed to achieve their career goals.

If you’d like some careers advice, we have a dedicated adults’ career service with experienced coaches. They can help you update your CV or personal statement, apply for jobs, or help you decide on your career direction.

Adult learner Dawn O’Hara decided to reach out to the RNN Group’s careers team after being made redundant aged 57 and feeling lost. With their help and advice, she completed two distance learning courses in Mental Health First Aid and Creating a Business Start-Up, which inspired her to start up her own personal safety training company.

“The RNN Group genuinely cares about your success and your personal journey. It is never too late to change your career, and your life, with the help of the RNN Group. Andy Feast from the Adult Careers team was brilliant and has helped me regain my self-confidence and overall purpose in life.”

We also have a brilliant student support team who are on-hand to help with a range of matters such as childcare support or additional learning support for students with disabilities or learning difficulties.

An engineering student working in the workshop

What are the facilities like for adults at RNN Group?

We’ve invested in some amazing facilities over the last few years since we became the RNN Group in 2017.

Across our campuses, we’ve now got a working restaurant, hair and beauty salons, a gym and sports centre and an animal care unit.

In September 2024, we’re opening our improved health suite at Dearne Valley College that’s had £330,000 investment, plus a brand-new £4million construction centre at Rotherham College.

All our campuses are easy to get to by bus, car or train. There is an on-site café plus plenty of breakout areas for you to socialise in-between lessons.

Every campus has its own IT help desk and free WIFI. Students also have access to a range of learning resources, materials and tools that can be loaned from our learning hubs to help with your studies.

Ready to apply?

Whenever feels like the right time for you to head back to education, we’ll look forward to welcoming you.

Contact our friendly admissions team on 01709 513355 or email us at

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