Adult education courses

Caroline Cassidy

With the New Year comes the promise of a new beginning and people across the country will be looking to change their health, home life or financial situation. And the recession has undoubtedly left many reconsidering their careers, jobs prospects and quality of life.

Adults learning IT skills
Adults learning IT skills

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Whether to re-train, rediscover a passion from one's youth or resume a career that was put on hold, adult education could provide answer.

The advantage of going back to school as an adult is that, not only do you know what you want to do (hopefully!) but that you are focused on achieving your goals (moaning about homework doesn't, or at least shouldn't, come into it), and you already possess the life experience and sense of perspective that will enable you to fully comprehend the information you absorb.

And if you are busy parent or already in work, thankfully there are now plenty of opportunities whereby you can fit learning around your lifestyle.

Across the country, adult education centres provide evening, daytime and short courses that can easily fit in with your family life and these days distance learning has become a viable prospect for many, thanks in large part to the internet.

So what's available? Everything and anything.

Most local authority adult education centres offer literacy and numeracy lessons to help those who struggled at school or were unable to complete their basic education. And for parents returning to work, IT, secretarial and business courses are plentiful and can provide the necessary knowledge, skills and indeed confidence, to get back into the workplace.

But that's not all - from book-keeping to bee-keeping, the potential for learning is vast and a variety of course levels, from beginners to starting up your own business, means there is something to suit everyone.

Even if you are simply looking for a new hobby the number of courses on offer is staggering - for example, Kent Adult Education services offer courses in burlesque and falconry, while in Yorkshire it is possible to learn the fine art of cake decorating and sugarcraft, study the fascinating subject of archaeology or, for those budding Scorseses, delve into the world of video editing.

Perhaps a trade is more your style - joinery or bricklaying are skills that can not only be used for DIY but could open up a whole new world of employment.

For those of you who are looking to make the most of home life, there is everything from cooking on a budget to knitting and sewing.

And if you're still not convinced that you will find a course to suit you, it's worth bearing in mind that it is even possible to enrol on a course entitled "50 ways to tie a scarf".