The importance of adult learning and tools to help you keep your skills up to date

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Learning doesn’t need to begin and end at formal education, far from it.

With the help of UK initiative Adult Learning Week, more and more adults are being made aware of the benefits of continued learning, which reach far and beyond the scope of educational achievement.

Continued learning as an adult has an impact on many areas of life. The world in which we live and work is changing all the time: advancements in technology, the research and guidance of practices, professional guidelines, societal changes and the culture of work all affect the way in which we work and live.

Keeping up with changes can feel daunting, especially after a period away from an industry or sector. Be it due to maternity leave, illness, a career change or an uplevelling of your skills, continued adult learning is key to not being left behind as the landscape evolves.


Adult learning need not only relate to continued professional development, however. Learning new skills and interests outside of the work remit also has huge benefits.

The acquisition of new hobbies, skills and personal development interests lead to increased confidence, improved mental health, and a happier employee in the workforce. Whether you are self employed, employed, in-between roles or involved with academia, adult learning is beneficial.

As professional skills are improved and knowledge is added to, new acquaintances can be made, and new opportunities may become available. Two of the main barriers to adult learning are often time and finance – after all, adults have house payments to meet, and often families to support.

Building skills over time using part time courses is a great, affordable way to accumulate new knowledge, networks of people and confidence whilst still working full time. Selecting a range of adult learning resources to suit your needs and interests as you learn, grow and develop allows for a rich experience both in and out of the workplace.

In addition to the huge array of part time courses available in the evenings for adult learners, the opportunities to learn using online environments really make continued learning accessible financially and in terms of time.

Future Learn, a private company affiliated with the Open University, offers a range of free courses online. The short courses are all delivered in an online environment with accessible materials to watch, listen to or read at home, on the go or even on your commute via smartphones and tablets. The learning is supported with online discussions, Q&A live streaming events and social media interactions.

Digital Business Academy, a resource provided for free as part of the UK government tech growth initiative. Consisting of 8 specialist modules online, the academy provides learning for those wishing to build a business using digital technology and an online environment.

Another cost effective way to learn online are resources such as  Skillshare and, both of which have a library of courses with an exciting range of skills to choose from for an affordable price.

Adult learning is beneficial to you, the learner, professionally and personally. Continued learning enriches your skill set, making you more employable, and also better prepared for any business ventures of your own that you may undertake.

The personal benefits include a happier mental state and increased confidence, as well as the potential for exciting opportunities to arise from continued learning.

Adult learning can be fun, affordable, social and accessible.

Find out more

Adult Learners Week

Finding Your Own North Star Martha Beck

Jo Gifford mentors solopreneurs to tell their business story online and to work in smarter, creative ways on

Jo Gifford mentors solopreneurs to tell their business story online and to work in smarter, creative ways on

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