Age no barrier to learning a new skill
Erin Reilly explains how adult education can help you learn a new language or ability.
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!
Returning to education as an adult can give you the skills you may need to further your career.