Around this time of year local authorities issue the Adult learning prospectuses.
Whether you are looking to develop a new hobby, improve your skills or move to the next level in your career, your local college may have a course for you.
The wide variety of courses on offer is scheduled in order to accommodate busy lives, with part-time and evening options available.
Everyone should remember learning doesn’t – and shouldn’t – stop when we reach adulthood. Adult education can provide us with the knowledge, skills and confidence we need to make life changing decisions or take us further in our career.
Explore the different types of learning available (classroom learning‚ e-learning and blended learning) and experience the benefits of learning new skills to enhance your career. As adult learners we can learn new skills whenever it suits us.
However, making the conscious decision to participate in training courses that develop a specific set of skills or to study a particular subject of interest has a number of benefits that we often don’t even realise.
The top 10 benefits of adult learning:
Career: by learning new skills we open up new opportunities that might not have been available to us before. Learning empowers us and helps us achieve our aspirations and career goals. It can also serve as evidence to employers of our capabilities.
Confidence: by discovering things you’re good at and expanding your skills portfolio‚ you increase your self esteem and gain a sense of pride from your achievements.
Decision making: it can be difficult to make a decision without all the information. Engaging in adult education enables us to make better informed decisions and have thorough conviction in our beliefs.
Happiness: studies show that using your skills makes you happier; learning new skills boosts the body’s natural studies show that using your skills makes you happier; learning new skills boosts the body’s natural production of dopamine (you know, the feel good hormone!).
Health: the exercise of learning itself stimulates the brain and helps to keep your mind sharp. Learning something new in one area can have a ripple effect in others‚ contributing to longevity and good health in later life.
Independence: acquiring new skills means you are no longer dependent on others to carry out certain tasks‚ giving you increased independence and in some instances helping save you money: mastering the practice of bookkeeping for example might mean you no longer need to employ someone to do the accounts for your business.
Personal development: learning is a process of self improvement‚ allowing you to reflect on who you are and to add more dimensions to your capability‚ character and interests.
Professional Development: you cannot learn everything you need to know at the beginning of your career then simply continue to use this knowledge throughout your working life. Engaging in the learning process of Continual Professional Development (CPD) ensures you have the latest knowledge and are equipped for change.
Self-direction: learning can bring meaning to our lives‚ helping to clarify future aspirations and giving us a sense of worth and direction.
Wisdom: when we acquire new knowledge‚ we often want to share this knowledge with others. The process of passing on knowledge in this way brings us closer to others and establishes a tight knit community.
Learning transforms who we are as people‚ not just because it gives us knowledge we otherwise would not have had‚ but also because it gives us confidence in our ability and transforms our attitudes as a result. With the power of learning we have the ability to do whatever it is we want.
But beware even if you do find the right course for you and are prepared to pay it may be that the drastic cuts in government funding means that courses will have to be cancelled.
Julian Gravatt, Assistant Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC), said:
“A further 3.9% cut to the adult skills budget, on top of the 24% cut announced earlier in the year, will have a devastating impact on the work colleges do in educating and training adults. Without this funding, adult education will be decimated meaning an end to vital courses which provide skilled employees for the workforce.
Adult education and training in England will not exist by 2020 if the Government continues with its swathe of cuts to the adult skills budget warns the Association of Colleges.
The more of us who sign up for courses now while indicate that this is a service that we value and should remain available for all ages.