Best course of action for mature students
MA Y B E Y O U have a y e n for maths or want to chat in a foreign l a n g u a g e . Perhaps you have always wanted to act or dance. I f so, colleges of further education are ready to educate and entertain you. Many have programmes designed for mature students who have decided it is time to stimulate their minds and indulge in long-delayed interests.
City Lit, in London’s Covent Garden, has around 5,000 courses. Particularly popular are its weekend classes, workshops and one-day sessions, which are a great way to meet new people and discover new ideas.
Enthusiastic artists can indulge in pot- tery, drawing and painting and take an introductory course in sculpture. For would-be authors there are creative writing and journalism courses, covering areas such as plotting a novel, writing for children, broadcast journalism and sports reporting.
City Lit also boasts an actor’s studio, with training in everything from first steps in acting to filming for virtual auditions. There are dance courses from swing to salsa to Charleston. And budding musicians can hone their skills, with skiffle on Sundays, b l u e s harmonica, drumming, folk and pop guitar. You can even get to grips with the technic a l i t i e s of chocolate or beer.
University of the Third Age, a nationwide network of learning groups, is aimed at encouraging retired people to share their knowledge, skills and interests in a friendly environment. It attracts many members aged 50-plus but there are no age constraints.
There are no exams or homework — and no certificates at the end of a course. This is learning for fun and the range of subjects is mind-boggling. U3A classes can educate you in wine tasting, piano duets, botany, country dancing, Scrabble, bird watching, computer skills, horse riding, rambling, gardening, belly dancing, photography, languages and more.
A member of a French study group says: “Full of life-enhancing and life-changing opportunities, U3A is perfect for retired and semi-retired people who come together and learn together, not for qualifications but for their own reward and the sheer joy of discovery.”
The Institute has been a provider of adult education in north London for more than 100 years and is known for its welcoming, inclusive attitude. Courses can be full- or part-time, at evenings and weekends. Short courses starting this month include personal development, photography, creative writing and computing. Key departments include art and design, cookery, dance, fashion, humanities, modern languages and music and performing arts.
For a broad range of full- and parttime A-levels, foundation degrees and vocational studies, an accessible option is Barnet and Southgate College, which has campuses in Southgate, High Barnet and Colindale.
Its 1,500 courses focus on the needs of employers and the employment prospects of students, in sectors such as catering, construction, business management, creative arts, IT, automotive technology, sport, hairdressing, beauty, health and social care.
The college has well-developed student support services, with mentors, counsellors, work-experience specialists and careers coaches.
Its Barnet campus includes an automotive construction department, a commercial spa-management centre, a hairdressing salon, a commercial training restaurant and industrystandard science laboratories.
The Institute also offers junior pottery classes
Ceramics at The Institute