A large part of the course is knitting samples using yarns of varying fibres and weights. To make this easier I recently bought a set of needles from ebay.
There are 15 pairs of needles in the set, made of bamboo, ranging in size from 2mm to 10mm. The reason I went for these is their shorter length. They are 20cm, which makes swatching easy. The size is written on both the length of the needle & on the end. The seller is UK based which means the sizes are in mm (which I use) and they ship worldwide for a very reasonable cost.
The downside: I dislike wooden knitting needles, mostly because I find the tips are not as sharp as I’d like, particularly in the larger sizes. As I’m knitting lace swatches at the moment this is really noticeable (to me anyway, some people love bamboo neeedles).
This could also make a great set for a young beginner (although the thinner needles may be prone to breakage at a tight tension, 2mm is quite tiny).