Thank you IpsyUpsyDaisyDo, that's all really helpful. I've had a quick nosey at the lynda.com website too and looks like that might be a good place to start, I have 2 years to get back in to things so you'd hope I'd be able to get the hang of things by then!
Hello AWimbaWay, a good place to start would be to subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud. The basic package includes the 3 main applications you'd need: InDesign (no-one uses Quark these days), Illustrator & Photoshop. It also has Dreamweaver for if you need to do any HTML-based design. Have you got a good spec computer to run it on? Adobe CC is a new thing where you subscribe and get the most up-to-date versions of the software. Regarding training, we have a team subscription to lynda.com - they have some really good courses that we do online & at our convenience. Lots of 'soft skills' stuff on there as well. You'll find a lot has changed in 8 years, but the fundamentals of design haven't & you can soon catch up with the rest - good luck!
Hope this isn't too tucked away and I get some replies.
I would appreciate advice on which software is currently used by freelance designers?
I graduated from my design degree in 1997, worked for a publishers for a few years, then did a couple of years freelance, since then, for 8 years, I have been a SAHM with the odd job not connected to design. Once my youngest starts school in two years I really want to try getting back in to design, but I'm scared and feel like I'm now very out of touch with everything.
I mainly used Quark with a bit of Photoshop and Illustrator in the past but am aware all of these have moved on significantly since then, so much so that I'm not sure I'd even recognise them!
So, if I wanted to do a couple of courses or buy some software to try and get myself up to speed which would you recommend I concentrate on?