Back To School

Posted on: 04 September 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Are you starting a course this September?

As a new term begins, though schooldays may be a distant memory, many adults will be enrolling on one of the numerous courses on offer across the UK.

There are many reasons to learn in later life. You can meet new people who share your interests at your local college, study online at your own pace from the comfort of home, or improve your career prospects by updating your qualifications. Those who are newly retired might even take the plunge and embark on the full-time degree they have always wanted to do.

There are plenty of part-time courses so even those with a busy life can explore something new, whether it's a weekly evening class after work or a daytime course to fit in with retirement or part-time work.

Those with low incomes or few qualifications may be able to take advantage of financial support, so it's worth investigating.

We would love to know what course you are doing. Why did you choose to do it? What are your hopes and fears? If you have completed a course what did you get out of the experience? You can share your thoughts by leaving a comment below, or discuss courses with others in the 50connect forum.

“You owe it to yourself to get an education and not anyone else. Don’t educate yourself for the benefit of others, do it for yourself. If you don’t take the opportunity to at least give it a go you will never know what you’re missing. If you don’t do it then you will never, ever know the gain. But in the end the gain to your life is worth everything…absolutely everything.”

Linda Worden, 48, who learnt to read and write on the recent Channel 4 programme, Can’t Read Can’t Write.

Inspirational Links

It's Never Too Late To Get A Degree Education is for all, says 79-year-old Fine Art graduate Ija Hird.

Learning In Later Life An 82-year-old graduate shows that you can be any age to make the most of university.

Web Links Adult learning information from NIACE (National Institute of Adult Continuing Education). Distance learning, online/computer courses and career advice for adults. Website you can use to search for part-time and full-time courses at all levels around the UK. Also features reviews. Learning & Skills Council - links to government grants, loans, information, advice and guidance.

From old favourites such as flower arranging, cake decorating, languages, art, creative writing, carpentry and car maintenance, to exciting new courses such as massage, aromatherapy, make-up and hair, interior and garden design or digital photography for older learners, there will be something somewhere to interest you.

For the academically minded there's a vast range of A-levels available. Although education doesn't even have to mean hours in a classroom - you could take up a new sport, yoga or dance and get fit.

Literacy and numeracy courses can help those who need to boost their skills in these areas, while a qualification in accounting or computing such as the ECDL - European Computer Driving Licence - could help rejuvenate your CV and your career.

If you have retired or are taking a career break, maybe you are about to begin or return to a full-time course or degree. This might be for the pleasure of learning that you didn't have the opportunity to continue in your youth, or because you want to change career. Many use their life experience to go into fields such as teaching, counselling or law for example.

If you decide to take a course, don't forget to let us know how you get on. You can share your experiences by leaving a comment below, or discuss courses with others in the 50connect forum.

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