HAVE you ever wanted to learn a sec­ond lan­guage, or play a mu­si­cal in­stru­ment?

The Oban Times - - Feature -

Do you yearn to ad­vance in your cur­rent job, or even study an en­tirely dif­fer­ent trade? It’s never too late to learn some­thing new. From tra­di­tional univer­sity classes to trade cour­ses to dance lessons, now more than ever, adults are tak­ing to the class­room. In fact, al­most one in three UK un­der­grad­u­ates is a ma­ture stu­dent.

As the av­er­age re­tire­ment age in­creases, older work­ers, even those with a de­gree, need to up­date their skills, and a great way to do that is by tak­ing a tech­nol­ogy course at a lo­cal col­lege or univer­sity. Em­ploy­ees who con­tin­u­ally learn and de­velop can com­pete more ef­fec­tively in the mar­ket place.

For those who did not com­plete higher ed­u­ca­tion, night classes are an op­tion. Ac­cord­ing to the Of­fice of Na­tional Sta­tis­tics, grad­u­ates earn an av­er­age of £12,000 a year more than non-grad­u­ates, while non-grad­u­ates are twice as likely to be un­em­ployed. And with the Gov­ern­ment’s move to lift the age limit on stu­dent loans from 54 to 60, the po­ten­tial cost of a de­gree need not be so dis­cour­ag­ing.

Short cour­ses are an op­tion for those who don’t want or need a de­gree. From com­puter science to cre­ative writ­ing, a short course can build skills, as well as ease one back into an aca­demic en­vi­ron­ment. Al­most any­one can ben­e­fit from con­tin­u­ing ed­u­ca­tion. By tak­ing a trade course, stu­dents can cre­ate a sec­ond ca­reer for them­selves. A busi­ness owner can im­prove her man­age­ment skills. A keen home cook can turn that hobby into a pro­fes­sion. A history buff can ful­fil his dream of be­ing an ar­chae­ol­o­gist. From pho­tog­ra­phy to moun­tain climb­ing-the pos­si­bil­i­ties for the fu­ture are al­most end­less.

Academia isn’t the only way to ex­pand one’s learn­ing hori­zons. Dance, drama or fit­ness classes don’t just of­fer great health ben­e­fits- by meet­ing com­pat­i­ble peo­ple, stu­dents can perk up their so­cial lives while im­prov­ing their bod­ies and minds. Tak­ing the first step to­ward learn­ing some­thing new can be in­tim­i­dat­ing. But it doesn’t take long to be high on the learn­ing curve.

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