Age no bar­rier to learn­ing a new skill

Erin Reilly ex­plains how adult ed­u­ca­tion can help you learn a new lan­guage or abil­ity.

The Tribune (NZ) - - BACKYARD BANTER -

I’ve al­ways wanted to learn French, but do it prop­erly this time. I stud­ied it for two years at high school, but all I can re­mem­ber now is ‘‘voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)’’. No, wait. That’s a line from a song.

Any­way, I haven’t been at high school for a very long time. But a lit­tle bit of re­search tells me that I don’t have to go back to school to re­learn my je m’ap­pelles. Thank good­ness. There’s no way I’d still fit my uni­form.

Many schools all over the coun­try run after-hours com­mu­nity ed­u­ca­tion classes for teenagers, adults, over-achiev­ers, and any­one who just likes to ex­er­cise their brains. Maybe they left school with­out any qual­i­fi­ca­tions. Maybe they grew up us­ing pen and pa­per, not a key­board and mouse. Maybe they want to pick up a hobby (or a prospec­tive part­ner). Or maybe they’re like me and wish they had paid more at­ten­tion in French class.

Com­mu­nity ed­u­ca­tion gives you the op­por­tu­nity to try some­thing new with­out a mas­sive com­mit­ment or the mas­sive ex­pense. Many lo­ca­tions of­fer so many op­tions it could be hard to choose.

Zumba or yoga, paint­ing or cre­ative writ­ing, com­puter skills or bud­get­ing, ball­room or belly danc­ing, cook­ing or gui­tar, French or Man­darin… what­ever your pas­sion, it’s prob­a­bly there. And be­cause most classes are in the evening or over the week­end, they’re pretty easy to fit around work and fam­ily.

Adult ed­u­ca­tion isn’t just about fill­ing your time with fun things; it’s also about giv­ing peo­ple who don’t have many qual­i­fi­ca­tions or work ex­pe­ri­ence a few more notches on their pro­fes­sional belt. Com­puter classes, Mi­crosoft up­skilling, CV writ­ing and in­ter­view tech­niques are of­fered by some com­mu­nity ed­u­ca­tion providers, in­clud­ing the Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bureau.

Rais­ing kids is pos­si­bly the hard­est job on earth and one that no-one is pre­pared for, no mat­ter how many an­te­na­tal classes you go to be­fore you pop. Thank­fully Plun­ket runs free par­ent­ing cour­ses to help with all kinds of baby-re­lated is­sues like sleep­ing, tran­si­tion­ing to solids, dis­ci­pline, ed­u­ca­tion and help­ing them reach their po­ten­tial based on their per­son­al­ity and style of learn­ing. Plun­ket also runs first aid cour­ses be­cause it al­ways pays to be pre­pared.

Fur­ther­ing your ed­u­ca­tion doesn’t have to take place in a class­room. Per­haps you’ve al­ways wanted to start grow­ing your own veges and you don’t know where to start, but you live next door to a gar­den­ing whiz.

Maybe you wish you could bake scones like the lady who lives across the road, or whip up a mean lasagne like that guy who lives on the cor­ner.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your neigh­bours who are awe­some at the skills you want to learn.

You never know, they might be flat­tered that you thought of them and more than will­ing to help. Just ask around on Neigh­bourly.co.nz and see what hap­pens!

PHOTO: 13RF

Re­turn­ing to ed­u­ca­tion as an adult can give you the skills you may need to fur­ther your ca­reer.

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