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NEC has a long and successful history of helping forces personnel to develop their careers. With flexible start and finish times, distance learning is ideal for people serving in the armed forces. Your course is available 24/7 and you can access it wherever you are and whenever you like. You study at your own pace and fit your learning in around the rest of your life.

Established in 1963 as a pilot for the Open University, NEC is an educational charity committed to learning for everyone at every stage in their lives and we campaign to keep access to lifelong learning open for all.

The leading experts in distance learning, we are proud of our flexible online courses and the success of our students.

Five reasons to choose NEC

As well as being the leading experts in distance learning, NEC offer the highest quality courses and resources, and the greatest flexibility in how, when and where our students learn. We have the most dedicated student support, and the most successful students. Year after year, people who study with NEC achieve exam results as good as or better, than national outcomes. 

We are a recognised ELCAS provider, and our provider number is 1160.

Recognised qualifications

Choose from our wide range of courses including:

  • A levels
  • GCSEs
  • Business and Management
  • Book-keeping
  • Education and Training
  • Counselling

Course materials are specially written for independent study by our expert teachers and examiners, lead to recognised qualifications, and come with personal support from a tutor who is a subject specialist.

Meet some of our forces students

I learned something completely new, was able to study at my own pace and with excellent support in both my studies and in taking my exams. It was great to be able to do this in a war zone so far from home,” says Tom, a Royal Navy Petty Officer who studied GCSE Psychology with NEC whilst in Afghanistan. 

I am ever so grateful to you for providing the spark that got me going on my studies,” says Chief Petty Officer (Coxwain) Tom, who studied English and Business GCSE with NEC whilst working at the helm of a 15,980 tonne, strategic missile submarine.

The courses I took with NEC laid the foundations for me to leave the military and go on and gain a BA and MA,” says Christine who studied A level Psychology with NEC.

After 32 years nursing in the armed forces, Barbara decided the time was right for a change in career. She had always enjoyed maths but had never got a qualification so she decided to enrol on GCSE Maths to improve her skills and job prospects. She hasn’t looked back and says, “Studying with NEC has given me confidence as well as new skills and the more I have learned the more I have enjoyed it. Thanks to my GCSE qualification and nursing experience, I have a job as a Clinical Audit Assistant at my local hospital. Working in civilian life is different, but it has turned out extremely well for me.”

A serviceman with the RAF, Mark chose to study with NEC due to the very specific demands placed upon him by his job. Whilst deployed in various European countries and Afghanistan Mark studied for an A level in English language. “The thing I enjoyed most about studying was that it gave me something constructive to do when I had downtime in Afghanistan,” he says. “It also helped me escape the mayhem as well as making the time fly by.” Read Mark’s full story on our website

Courses available

Below are some of our most popular courses. Information about all of the courses NEC offer is on our website


Course Advice Team


0800 389 2839

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The Michael Young Centre, School House, Homerton Gardens, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB2 8EB

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Courses Available
Distance Learning/Online Courses

Course Overview Region Contact Funding
Distance Learning
Business Start-up
If you are thinking of starting up or are already running your own business you need to consider a range of issues. This two-part course begins by helping you decide whether self-employment is right for you before taking you step-by-step through the knowledge and skills needed to establish yourself in business
International   0800 389 2839   email   website
A level Sciences - physics, chemistry and biology
Studying a science subject will help you develop sound analytical skills and show future employers that you are methodical, organised and have good attention to detail. It can also lead to some fascinating careers
International   0800 389 2839   email   website
A level Maths
A level Maths is our most popular subject, and is essential if you want to go on to study STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) at higher level. It is also highly valued in many careers
International   0800 389 2839   email   website
GCSEs in English and maths
GCSEs in English and maths at Grade C or above (Grade 4 or above under the new grading system) are essential for many careers or to get into college or university. If you left school without a GCSE in maths or English, or if you need to improve your grades, our courses can help you gain these essential qualifications
International   0800 389 2839   email   website
We offer a choice of management courses at levels 3 and 5 all leading to Chartered Management Institute (CMI) qualifications and highly valued by employers. Having a qualification from CMI demonstrates that you’re serious about your career. Our courses are ideal to prepare you for a role as a first line manager or a leadership role
International   0800 389 2839   email   website
Essential and Advanced Book-keeping
Skills in accounting and book-keeping are invaluable in business and can lead to a lucrative and exciting career. Our book-keeping courses have been specially designed for distance learning and will prepare you for exams leading to qualifications from the Institute of Certified Book-keepers (ICB), to equip you for a job in book-keeping or for setting up your own business
International   0800 389 2839   email   website

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