As the 24th Adult Learners’ Week gets underway, people who feel that it’s too late for them to learn new skills are being urged to think again.  Adult Learners’ Week runs from 13 to 19 June, and is a national celebration of lifelong learning organised by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE), the national voice for lifelong learning. 

Since the first Adult Learners’ Week in 1992, thousands of people have been inspired to return to learning to enhance their careers and enrich their lives.

Jayne Worthington, Interim Managing Director of Greater Manchester’s largest training provider, The Skills Company said: “We know that there are many people who feel that for whatever reason, they didn’t make the most of their educational opportunities when they were younger, and think that it’s too late to put that right.  But in reality, there are ample opportunities for adults to update their skills, or take a totally different direction, whether they are currently in work, or unemployed. 

“We‘ve worked with hundreds of adults who have taken the decision to make a fresh start and learn new skills.  We have regular training courses for adults in a wide range of occupations from construction skills to hairdressing.” 

“Contrary to popular belief, Apprenticeships are not just for school leavers. For people who are already in work, there is the possibility of an Apprenticeship with your current employer, which can give recognition for existing skills, as well as developing new ones, and provide a nationally recognised qualification.   If people feel that they missed out on higher education, we can also offer access to higher education courses as well as part time foundation degrees which can lead to a full honours degree.”

“Whatever your starting point, it really is never too late to return to learning, there is something out there for people of all ages and with all interests.”

Forty three year old mother of two Heather Turnbull had been unemployed since 2005, and after a long spell of illness, decided that she needed to retrain to get herself back into employment.  Heather started an Access to Health and Social Care course at The Skills Company in Manchester in 2013, and successfully completed the course.  Heather said:

“I was quite nervous about the prospect of going back into education, but the staff were so positive about my age and my illness, and I saw it as a fantastic opportunity to meet new people and learn new skills. It has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time, learning not only professional skills but also new life skills including time management, organisation skills and learning techniques.”

Following the course, Heather applied for a post as a Senior Support Worker with a leading independent provider of health and social care. After an interview and a number of assessment tests, Heather was delighted to be offered the job.

Heather added: “The course was fantastic and delivered in a simple and easy to understand manner by true professionals, their positivity and dedication not only defined an excellent annual academic result, but also contributed directly to building professional confidence together with a genuine ability to succeed. I cannot thank my tutors enough.”