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Lifelong Learning Key to Wellbeing

Lifelong Learning Key to Wellbeing

Henley Men’s Shed in Masterton will host the launch of this year’s Adult Learners’ Week/He Tangata Mātauranga, September 7-13. The custom built shed is set up for older men to participate in a range of activities from metalwork, woodwork and gardening to pizza making, writing courses and men’s health education sessions. It also runs holiday programmes for children and young people.

It is predicted that New Zealand will be home to over a million retirees by 2035, which could mean a surge in demand for learning opportunities such as those provided by Men’s Sheds.

Dr Jo Lake, Director of Adult and Community Education (ACE) Aotearoa says as the population ages, demand for learning will increase because research has shown the benefits of lifelong learning.

She says, research in the United Kingdom has shown that learning programmes for seniors can lead to a reduction in the use of medication, increased wellbeing and can even delay the onset of dementia.

“There is now solid evidence of a relationship between learning and mental agility as people age but adult learning is good for everyone not just for seniors. Adult learners of all ages and backgrounds report benefits like better self-esteem, greater tolerance, confidence and career prospects.”

Dr Lake says the pace of change in the workplace also means that adult learning is vital for everyone. “Those with an openness to learning will always have an advantage in the workplace.“

The Government priorities for Adult and Community Education (ACE) include literacy, numeracy, English language (ESOL), te Reo Māori and sign language. Providers all over New Zealand offer learning in these core areas and many others. Courses not eligible for funding are often run by volunteers.

Adult Learners’ Week/He Tangata Mātauranga, celebrates all adult learning whether it’s upskilling for a better job, preparing for further study, improving life skills or having fun. It is supported by the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO and incorporates International Literacy Day on September 8.

More than forty events are planned for the week including an event on Great Barrier Island organised by the Awana Branch of Rural Women in which a panel of experts will explore a pandemic scenario. Panel members include virologist Associate Professor Lance Jennings, John Titmus from Civil Defence, sociologist Professor David Jennings and science fiction writer Karen Healey.

Adult Learners’ Week/He Tangata Mātauranga is organised by ACE Aotearoa.

For more information see the website


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