MoneySaverSpain: Subsidised and free courses in Spain

MoneySaverSpain: Subsidised and free courses in Spain

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MoneySaverSpain explains how you can study and improve your knowledge with free and subsidised training in Spain.

Whether you want to study as a hobby or to improve your knowledge in certain areas, it’s often possible to find free or almost free courses both in English and Spanish in Spain. Training may be offered by your employer in-house, other courses can be found online; some are a few hours, others a few years. Take a look at what we've found.

Government subsidised training

Any company in Spain that has at least one employee has the right to subsidise training via social security contributions. In reality, most companies find a way for this training to work out free by adjusting the hours of training given. It works in the following way (2012 data):

  • For companies with one to five employees, a limit of EUR 420 per year (total) can be subsidised when spent on training. Hence a course costing EUR 500 for five people will have the maximum EUR 420 subsidy and the company would only pay EUR 80.
  • The company pays for the training and then deducts the allowable amount from the social security contributions the month after the training has taken place.
  • Training can be face-to-face or online.
  • Courses must be related to the company's main activities.

Many small companies are not aware of these subsidies, hence their employees are missing out. If this is your case, let your company know about it. It is usual for the training to be contracted by intermediaries, just search for 'formación bonificacada' on the internet and the system is organised by the Fundación Tripartita. Legislation introduced this year states that each employee is entitled to 20 hours paid training per year, although much confusion still exists over exactly which areas this training can cover.

Additionally there are many courses run by your local Diputación or Ayuntamiento. Some courses are exclusively for the unemployed, others are open to everyone. Look for a section called 'Formación' on their website, where you can find all the details. Some courses may have a small fee for enrolment.

free training courses in Spain

Free courses offered by universities

Launched in 1971, The Open University is the biggest distance learning university in the UK with over 250,000 students and more than 10,000 in the rest of Europe. Fees are payable for most courses, however they have 100s of free online learning resources in areas from art to technology and business to science. Taster courses can help you decide whether to enrol in a full course, degree or post-graduate qualification. Check The Open University website for further details.

Launched in 2012 from Harvard, Berkeley and MIT you can find introductory courses at Each course has a fixed start and end date and you can see the number of hours per week that you will be expected to study.

At The Faculty Project you can also find courses uploaded by university professors. Just take a look at what's on offer and enrol.

In Spanish, you can read information on the UNED (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia), under their free courses section – most have no fixed start or finish date.

Other courses in Spain

Around 3,000 videos in Spanish with pre-university level maths problems explained are available at Great resource if your children are in the Spanish school system. Note: Some of the videos are password protected; you just need to follow on twitter and ask for the password.

Creative writing
In English check out The Crafty Writer and also The Open University (see above). In Spanish take a look at Dificil de Juglar.

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Reprinted with permission of Money Saver Spain.

Maxine Raynor runs the website, which details tips on how to stretch your budget while living and travelling in Spain. You can also find her on Twitter @MoneySaverSpain.

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