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Adult Learners' Week

By: Suzanne Elvidge BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 15 Sep 2012 |
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Want to try something new but don't know where to get the information and how to start, or daunted by the range of courses available and not sure what to choose? Adult Learner’s Week is an opportunity to try out a whole range of different subjects free of charge, at taster courses and workshops. Have a go – you might get inspired!

What Is Adult Learner’s Week?

Adult Learners Week is a festival of adult learning held every year in May. The aim of Adult Learner’s Week is to encourage adults of any age to try learning something new, or to brush up an old skill, as a beginner all the way up to a PhD. The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) runs it.

What Happens At Adult Learner’s Week?

During Adult Learner’s Week, there is a wide range of events all around the country, in cafés, libraries, community centres and museums, in colleges and workplaces, and even in prisons. These include:

  • Learning at Work Day, where people can find out what opportunities there are within their companies.
  • Transforming Lives events, where people talk about how learning has changed their lives, from being able to read to getting qualifications that mean they can apply for a new job or get a promotion.
  • National and regional awards ceremonies.
  • The Adult Learners’ Week National Policy Conference, where teachers, managers and policy-makers can discuss how adult learning will move change and move forwards.
  • Events that celebrate the history of an area and the cultural diversity of the people living there.
  • Opportunities for people to try new skills free of charge at demonstrations, taster courses and workshops. These cover hundreds of different topics, from windsurfing and belly dancing, through cookery and DIY, to maths and literacy.
  • National ITQ e-skills conference.
  • Silver Surfers’ Day, helping older people access and enjoy the Internet.

Adult Learners' Week Awards

Adult Learners’ Week has its own awards, which celebrate individual people, groups and families whose lives have changed through learning, and projects and organisations that have helped learners to change their lives. These are both local and national.

The main categories are:

  • For individual people whose learning has changed their lives, and has inspired others
  • For groups where learning has changed their lives and the lives of people around them
  • Families that have learned together (see also ‘Learning Together as a Family’)
  • The ‘Opening Doors to Adult Learners’ awards, which are for projects and organisations that have helped learners.
There are also special awards sponsored by different organisations, and these change each year.

Getting Involved

It’s possible to get involved in Adult Learner’s Week as a community worker, a learning provider, a union learning representative, an employer and (of course) as a learner. Contact NIACE or look out for Adult Learner’s Week information and posters at local libraries and in colleges, and try something new. It won’t be as hard as you think.

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