Change your life! - Courses

  • The List
  • 10 September 2009
Change your life! - Courses

Want to lose weight, learn new skills or completely change your life around? Just you ask The List’s own agony auntie, poppet.

Dear List’ll Fixit,
I’m getting married in nine weeks’ time, and last year, in a burst of optimistic depravity, I blew almost all of our savings on the most fabulous Vera Wang frock. Trouble is, I’m still two sizes too big for it. I’ve got to get fit, but I can’t afford to join a gym, much less get myself a personal trainer. What can I do?

Bridezilla (literally), Partick.

Aw, Zilla. We think you look lovely anyway, and if your husband-to-be doesn’t love you as you are then he’s just not worth it. On the other hand, have you still got enough money to pick up a pair of running shoes? That’s all you’ll need to take up the Couch to 5K Running Plan, which has been put together by the lovely experts at Cool Running. It’s a free, downloadable, step-by-step fitness plan designed precisely to turn couch potatoes into runners in easy stages, it’s picking up online devotees by the thousands, and, by a huge coincidence, it takes exactly nine weeks.,

Dear List’ll Fixit,
Two months ago I was just hopping back from the Maldives when I got a message on my Blackberry saying that the bank I worked for had gone bust! Filthy luck. I am now unemployed and absolutely destitute. It looks like I need a complete career change.
Bea Anker, New Town (not for long).

Not that we’re, er, judging, but have you thought about redressing your karmic balance a little by training to provide a practical service to the community? Yes, plumbing. If you’ve got the determination to make a change, the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers Federation (SNIPEF) will apply for funding on your behalf once a registered plumber has agreed to take you on as an apprentice. SNIPEF will see you through three years of college for your Modern Apprenticeship (MA) and then a final year of training. The salary might not be quite what you’re used to, but plumbing is one of the most secure jobs in a thoroughly insecure age.

Dear List’ll Fixit,
Help! My mum has finally chucked me out of the house (some spurious excuse about 35 being ‘too old to be tied to the apron strings’). I’ve been trying to feed myself as best I can, but three weeks of Pot Noodles have left me rather, er, bunged up. You’re my last hope.

Perpetual Adolescent, Linlithgow

OK. Stop picking dried-on cornflakes off your Watchmen T-shirt and listen to us! Basic one-off cooking courses at Cookingmania in Edinburgh start from £40 a session or take on a four-week class at the Cookery School in Glasgow’s Merchant City, from £99.50 – for that you’ll get much-needed advice and a decent meal, which it sounds like you could do with. Cookingmania do a men-only class for absolute beginners on a Monday night, too.

Dear List’ll Fixit
I’ve just got too much energy! I can’t stop moving, and I think my presence in the office is beginning to irritate my colleagues! I need some way of burning it all off, but I’ve got a very busy life and I’m not very good at committing to long-term plans!
Lots of love,
Fiona Fidgett, Marchmont!
PS: Reducing my caffeine intake is really not an option!

Easy there, Fi. Have you thought about shaking it out in an occasional dance class? Dance Base in Edinburgh Grassmarket runs one-off drop in classes starting from Mon 14 Sep from 8am-8pm for free spirits: as long as you’ve booked online or bought a ticket half an hour in advance, you can try out everything from ballet in your lunch hour to breakdance after work. Your first trial session is free, too. And maybe have a wee think about the caffeine thing? Just, you know, saying.

Dear List’ll Fixit,
That’s it! I’ve had enough of the soulless corporate world. I need to be recognised as the cinematic visionary I am! If only I could get someone to read my screenplay...
Tortured Auteur, Finneston

Oh, we feel your pain, babycakes. That nasty Harvey Weinstein doesn’t return our calls either. Rather than spending your days endlessly, mournfully refreshing your email inbox, why not endeavour to really hone your skills? Not that we’re saying you’re not a genius already, but Napier University’s MA in Screenwriting can be done full or part-time, is highly regarded by Screen Academy Scotland, and will equip you not only with insider knowledge of how the industry works, but help you create a full portfolio of scripts. Registration is open just now for term starting in January.


Dance House
20 St Andrews Street, Glasgow, 0141 552 2442. Large range of courses at a variety of times and venues. Prices vary; £72 (£60) for a 12-week course with an hour-long class each week. Autumn season begins 14 Sep.
Dance Base
Grassmarket, Edinburgh, 0131 225 5525. Large range of courses at a variety of times and venues. Prices vary; £63 for a 12-week course with an hour-long class each week.

Arts & Crafts

Edinburgh College of Art Lauriston Place, 0131 221 6109. Short courses, evening classes, and accredited qualifications. Prices vary; £142 for a ten-week drawing course with a two-hour class each week.
Art & Design Masters Course (MDes) School of Design
Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee, Perth Road, Dundee, 0138 238 5298. £3400 for a 12-month course.
Glasgow School of Art
Renfrew Street, 0141 353 4500. Evening, day and summer courses. Prices vary; £465 for a 20-week drawing and painting course running one day each week.
Stained glass workshops Creative Glass Designs, Drum Brae South, Edinburgh. £95 for a series of five two-hour sessions and £80 for a day course.


Stevenson College, Sighthill, Edinburgh, 0131 535 4700. Diplomas, degree foundation courses and evening classes. Prices vary; £200 for 20 two-hour evening classes leading to an accredited award.


Firework Studio, Dalhousie Street, Glasgow, 0141 332 3738. £90 for a six-week ceramics course with a two-hour class each week.


Cardonald College, Mosspark Drive, Glasgow, 0141 272 3333. Distance learning and part or full-time courses available. £1285 for a 12-month full-time course.

Alternative Therapy

Editi Yoga Centre
Alva Street, Edinburgh, 0131 226 2601. Classes suitable for all levels of practitioner. Prices vary; £70 for an eight-week beginners’ course with one class each week.

Ancient Thai yoga massage
Matta, Newcourt Street, Glasgow, 07956 911 159. Range of classes and workshops. Prices vary; £995 for a 16-day course leading to a diploma in Thai yoga massage and Thai foot massage.

Transcendental Meditation
Seven centres across Scotland, 0131 668 1649 (Edinburgh), 0141 339 9916 (Glasgow). Six-month courses. Prices vary according to income of participants.

Meditation, tai chi, yoga, and Alexander Technique tuition
Glasgow Buddhist Centre, Sauchiehall Street, 0141 333 0524. Prices vary; £63 (£32) for a six-week introductory meditation course with a two-hour class each week and one-day retreat included.


Language classes
Institute for Applied Language Studies, University of Edinburgh, Hill Place, 0131 650 6200. Range of classes and courses in 17 languages. Prices vary; £125 (£83) for 11 two-hour classes.

Languages @ Lunchtime
University of Glasgow Modern Languages Unit, Hetherington Building, Bute Gardens, Glasgow, 0141 330 6521. Prices vary; £190 for a 16-week course with two hours of classes each week.

French courses for all
Alliance Française, 3 Park Circus, Glasgow. Opportunities to learn French for for both children and adults with prices from £85 for an 8 week course.

Practical Skills

Web design
Universal Training Solutions, Human Resources Department, University of Glasgow, Gilbert Scott Building, Glasgow, 0141 330 5857. Evening and day courses. Prices vary; £250 for a two-day course.

Bicycle maintenance
Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op, Alvanley Terrace, 0845 257 0808. £24.47 for half-day and £47.96 for full-day maintenance courses.

Main Street, Davidsons Mains, Edinburgh, 0131 336 2012. Evening and day classes, seasonal workshops, holiday courses and classes for kids. Prices vary; £40 for a three-hour afternoon class.

The Cookery School
Glassford Street, Glasgow, 0141 552 5239. One-day, evening and five-day cookery courses available. Prices vary; £99.50 for four two-hour evening sessions.


Aerial dance and trapeze work
Out of the Blue Rehearsal Studio, Dalmeny Street, Leith, 07989 978 598. Prices vary; £75 for a
six-week course.

Spinal Chord, 416 Great Western Road, Glasgow, 07863 132 481. Prices and times vary; £14 for an introductory session.

RPM cycling workout
Leith Victoria Swim Centre, Junction Place, Edinburgh, 0131 555 4728. Prices vary. Range of classes.

Glasgow Ski & Snowboard Centre, Bellahouston Park, 16 Dumbreck Road, Glasgow, 0141 427 4991. Prices and times vary; £5 per session for members, plus a range of separately-charged classes.

And Beyond

Young Scot Action Fund
Grants of up to £200 for individuals, £750 for groups, for young people aged 15-26 with good community action projects in mind.

Club Noir, Eglinton Street, Glasgow. £75 for a day course, including two entry tickets to any Club Noir.

Introduction to novel writing
Centre for Lifelong Learning, Strathclyde University, George Street, Glasgow, 0141 548 4287. £80 for three four-hour classes.

Theatre courses
Ramshorn Theatre and Film Studio, University of Strathclyde, Ingram Street, Glasgow 0141 552 3489. Variety of courses in acting, directing, stand-up and more. £90 for an eight to ten-week course.

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