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Fit Adult Learning Around Your Working Life

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 15 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
How To Fit Adult Learning Around Working

Many adults will say that they would love to go back to college or university or undertake some other kind of academic or vocational course to further their career prospects or just for pleasure but that they simply don’t have the time to do so. And, it’s certainly true that juggling the commitments of a full-time job with, perhaps, family commitments as well in addition to maintaining some kind of work/life balance are all factors that can make adult learning seem to be an unreachable goal. However, with the advancement in technology particularly, plus a more flexible approach by colleges, universities and other further education providers and employers too, it’s never been a better time to achieve your aims. It does, however, require a certain amount of planning, a steely determination on your part and perhaps the co-operation of others also.


The internet has probably been the single most important aspect in revolutionising education, especially when it comes to adults. There are so many options available now for people to undertake courses online independently of any need to be in a particular place at a given time. Of course, distance learning is nothing new. For example, the Open University is possibly the most famous example of this and it was established back in 1969. However, with the internet, there has become a far broader approach in terms of the types of courses you can do and, in many cases, you can simply work through your online courses completely at your own pace and at times that suit you. There is another article contained on this website which goes into more detail about the range of e-learning, distance learning and correspondence course options you might consider.

Attending College

If you prefer a college based setting as opposed to simply working your way through a course online from a remote location, many colleges, universities and other education providers are only too familiar with the difficulties adults face in juggling their work and family commitments with further education. These days, most education providers will be able to offer you a great degree of flexibility whereby you’ll find many ‘hybrid’ courses which combine, perhaps, a couple of hours in the evening per week, or even in the daytime if you prefer, in a classroom setting along with your peers and tutor, whilst the vast bulk of your work can be carried out from a computer at home at a time that suits you.

There are also intensive courses which you can complete over a weekend, for example, if you have a full-time job in which your weekends are free and you don’t have any other commitments over that period.

Training At Work

Most companies today are keen to retain the services of their most valuable employees and are always looking at innovative ways in which they can fulfil the career aspirations of their most valued employees which, in turn, tends to be rewarded in terms of staff loyalty and staff retention. Therefore, it’s well worth speaking to your company’s training and development department to see if they can help you achieve your learning ambitions. Many companies will make it possible for you to work 4 days a week, for example, and attend college or obtain training on the other day as part of your working week. Many will also offer you intensive 1 or 2 weeks training courses as part of your employment contract. An ever more increasing trend these days also is for companies to offer you a year-long sabbatical or ‘career break’ after a certain number of years of service which could also enable you to attend a course and then return to your job afterwards.

Other Considerations

Childcare issues and financial implications are two other important aspects and potential barriers to adults choosing to return to work. However, you can often get financial aid in certain circumstances and many colleges today have subsidised crèche facilities which can often help to alleviate the time constraints of fitting additional learning into an already hectic work and family life schedule.

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