NEC taster courses

NEC taster courses in a wide variety of subject areas

NEC offers a range of free taster courses exclusive to union members. Each taster consists of a self-contained extract drawn from a full NEC course, and the list of available subject areas is wide and varied.

You will find full details on what you as a learner can expect, the knowledge and skills you will gain, and the approximate time it will take to study. The materials include activities, self-assessments, opportunities to reflect, and an example assignment at the end.

Information about the wider courses from which each taster is taken is also available if you wish to take your learning further. Please see below for the full list of NEC taster courses you can choose from.

Accounting Principles, Concepts and Conventions

This course draws from our A level in Accounting and provides an excellent introduction to the financial aspects of business. It covers a number of key areas which will be of particular interest to anyone thinking about working in busines, or starting their own company.

Download Accounting Principles, Concepts and Conventions


The study of living things is a varied and versatile science with a wide appeal. Drawing from our full A level in Biology, this taster course will give you an overview of the transport systems in plants and animals, including the human circulatory system. In keeping with the subject's practical nature, there will also be some fun experiments you can do using basic household items.

Download Biology

Children's Growth and Development

Providing a fascinating insight into how to understand and support a child's development through the earlier years of their life, this free taster draws from our wide range of Childcare and Early Years courses in order to create a neatly self-contained distance learning course.

Download Children's Growth and Development

Climate Change and Alternative Energy Resources

Wherever you stand on the question of how much the change in global weather patterns can be attributed to mankind, there is little doubt that there are changes happening. Drawing from our A level in Environmental Studies, this course will help you to understand these changes and what we could do to mitigate potential damage.

Download Climate Change and Alternative Energy Resources

Cognitive Theory and Cognitive Behavioural Theory

This fascinating taster will be of particular relevance to anyone with an interest in counselling, whether as a practioner or a therapy seeker. It draws from our full course in Counselling Theory and looks at the definition of cognitive theory, some of the people most associated with its development, and explains how each applied their insights to the therapeutic process.

Download Cognitive Theory and Cognitive Behavioural Theory

Critical Thinking

Analytical skills and the ability to evaluate your own and other people's reasoning is an extremely useful skill, not just in the workplace but also in education and your personal life. Drawing from our full A level, this taster course will help you improve your reasoning skills, evaluate others' arguments, and judge between the rival claims encountered in the media and daily life.

Download Critical Thinking

Double-Entry Book-Keeping and Accounts

Drawing from our full course in Essential Book-Keeping, this taster will help to familiarise you with a tried and tested system of keeping accounts which minimises the possibility of errors. Understanding this system is as relevant to household finances as it is to corporate accounting.

Download Double-Entry Book-Keeping and Accounts

Electrical Currents and Practical Electricity

This taster course draws from our IGCSE in Combined Science to provide an intriguing look at the world of electricity and circuits. It will also help you to understand what to do should you find yourself needing to rewire a plug, or understand some of the technical terminology used by electricians.

Download Electrical Currents and Practical Electricity

Globalisation and International Trade

Drawing from our A level in Economics, this taster course will help to explain the meaning, causes and effects of globalisation. It touches on issues relating to increasingly international business and trade practices, and the influence that this can have on government policy.

Download Globalisation and International Trade

Law: Introduction to Crime

Drawing from our GCSE in Law, this taster course looks at how dealing with crime is at the heart of our legal system. It looks at how the law addresses different types of crime and helps to further an understanding of related issues.

Download Law: Introduction to Crime

Personal Development Planning

Drawing from our full Level 3 Diploma course in First Line Management, this taster will be particularly helpful to anyone working as or aspiring to be a first line manager. Finding ways to continue building your skills is important for the benefit of your role and yourself, so structuring your own development and training will need to be a key part of your planning and strategy.

Download Personal Development Planning

Planning and Managing Your Work

Time management and careful planning can make the difference between success or failure. Drawing from our full Level 3 Certificate course in First Line Management, this taster will help you to understand how to cope with conflicting priorities, set objectives for youself and your team, and remain flexible in case of unforeseen demands on your time.

Download Planning and Managing Your Work

Short Stories

This taster is a great introducation to storytelling for anyone who enjoys writing and wants to improve their skills. It draws from our full course in Creative Writing and will give you an insight into the process of turning initial ideas into crafted stories.

Download Short Stories

Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar

Whether you are sitting exams or compiling a report for work, you can be sure that good writing skills will serve you well. This taster course covers three of the most commonly made mistakes and how to avoid them, one from each area; words that sound misleading (spelling), the apostrophe (punctuation), and choosing the right word from a pair (grammar).

Download Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar

Studying Prose and Drama

This taster course looks at writing techniques used by authors such as Graham Greene and Charles Dickens and draws from our A level in English Language and Literature. It will help you to read both familiar and unfamiliar authors with a fresh understanding and enrich your experience of reading or writing for pleasure.

Download Studying Prose and Drama

Using a Calculator

The calculator is an essential tool which many of us use in our everyday lives. If you are planning to study maths, then knowing some basic calculator techniques can be invaluable. This free short course is at the same level as GCSE Maths.

Download Using a Calculator