Adult Education Courses
With some spare time at last, now is your chance to gain a new skill, or enjoy the opportunity of learning more about a subject that has always interested you.
You might want to improve your computer skills, learn a language, keep bees, study interior design (very useful if you are planning some redecoration) or master the skills of navigation. You name it – there’s a course for it. The cheapest way is to sign up for an Adult Education class – the atmosphere is relaxed and not pressured, and the teachers are generally an enthusiastic bunch.
There are usually 50 to 60 different courses on offer at most of the UK’s network of Adult Education Centres. Whether you want to develop new skills or just learn more about a subject that interests you, they offer a comprehensive choice of day and evening classes. Some run for a term, some for a year. Substantial discounts are available for the over 60’s.
The quality of teaching does inevitably vary, but generally it is good, and as many of the courses are taught to a structured framework there is a degree of consistency. Most centres are happy for you to sit in on a class for free to test it out and make sure it is right for you.
You can do them purely for interest and pleasure, gain an NVQ or City & Guilds, or study for a GCSE. For adult education courses go to your local library for a brochure or look on your local council’s website under adult education. Courses generally start in September and the schedules are published in July.
At Hot Courses you can look for a college or search through over 900,000 courses throughout the UK in subjects from art appreciation & bridge via languages & mountaineering to watercolour painting & yachting .
Do you want to get a qualification that will help you develop or change your career, or simply want to learn a subject in depth for you personal fulfillment? The Open University has been voted top for student satisfaction for 3 years running and provides flexibility and high quality teaching. Generally you study from home and attend a one week residential course each year.
Most courses do not require any previous qualifications. Tesco Club cards can be used against any introductory-level 1 OU course £4 to every £1 of vouchers
University of the Third Age ( U3A)
U3A is a self help, self managed learning co-operative, the only criteria being that you should not be in full time work. Most members are in their 50’s and above. It provides opportunities for the members to share learning experiences in a wide range of interest groups - learning for pleasure rather than for qualifications. The members run and facilitate their own groups. For example someone with a knowledge of wine might set up a wine tasting group, or a linguist could set up a language conversation class. There are literary groups, language groups, walking groups, art groups, knitting groups – a huge range. The groups are very social and friendly.
It is a national organization whose membership groups are determined by regional county, and then individual town. Each town has a steering committee which, on payment of its joining fee ( usually about £20 per year) sends you a handbook detailing all the groups in your area and their contact numbers. It also usually organizes a monthly meeting and talk, as a forum for members to meet each other outside of the particular interest groups they have joined.
The groups are growing in popularity, and some towns – like Salisbury – are now on to their 3rd group as the first 2 have filled to capacity. Numbers in a group average about 200, though they can get as big as 2000 – so you can imagine the scope and breadth of sessions on offer.
Go to their web site to find your nearest group and contact number.