The search has begun for the nation’s oldest learner in a bid to bring the spotlight of public attention to bear on adult, continuing and lifelong education provision.
The search is being organised by the National Institute for Adult Continuing Education (NIACE), and is entitled Sign Up Now. The programme will be launched in September, and will seek to demonstrate how people have improved their health, their social lives and overall outlook through learning later in life.
Amongst those older learners are Raymond Elgood, aged 84, and Walter Goddard, aged 95. Mr. Elgood, from Leicester, found a release and a freedom in the courses he took at Age Concern in ICT following the death of his wife. “I was devastated when my wife sadly passed away,” he said. “This studying helped to fill a great hole in my life and helped me to return to near normality. As I started my studies I felt as if I had been in a room with shuttered windows which were being opened one by one revealing another world outside. I wish with all my heart that I had started my adult studies much sooner.”
Mr. Goddard, from Surrey, has enjoyed taking part in Art, Cooking and Pottery courses and urges others to find the same gratification that he has. “The thought of these sessions motivates me to get up in the morning,” he confided. “Many people complain of being bored and lonely with nothing to do when there is so much enjoyment to be had in the local area if they took the chance to give it a try.”
A Stepping Stone
Jim Soulsby, the Development Officer for NIACE’s Older and Bolder team, echoed these sentiments and urged a broader take up of learning as conducive to broader benefits. “Older people are proving over and over again that it is never too late to learn and that in so doing everyone benefits,” he said. “Research shows there are health benefits in engaging in later life learning. There are examples of older people using their learning as a stepping stone into other aspects of economic or community life. NIACE is confident that ““ up and down the country ““ there are adult learners who are showing that age is no barrier to learning and who will be an inspiration to others.”
To nominate yourself, or to nominate someone you know, please click here.
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