Written by Huw Irranca-Davies MS

It’s never too late to learn.

The annual ‘Adult Learners’ Week’ shines a spotlight on the great support available to help anyone – of all ages – who is thinking about learning new skills or returning to education.

Many free online and in-person events are being held throughout September, showing the support and resources available to help anyone back into education or to learn new skills. This includes adult learning opportunities in the community and colleges, financial support to study, evidence of the positive impacts of vocational studies on a successful workplace, and much more.

There are many subjects to choose from. Some have been designed specifically for leaners in Wales too with more courses available through the medium of Welsh. There really is an adult learning opportunity for everyone.

John’s Story

Learning has the power to change people’s lives as shown by the inspiring story of Maesteg’s John Gates – an inspirational former miner who lost his job in the pit closures back in the 1980s. He took the opportunity to return to education, developed further his incredible talents in embroidery which he picked up from his family originally, and he now – in his 80’s – has travelled the world teaching others about his skills and the benefits of life-long learning.  I was privileged to present John with a National Lifetime Achievement Award for Adult Learning 2023 at an event marking Adult Learners’ Week.

John’s story is unique, but there are many similar inspirational stories of people who are still learning at all ages, and then passing their new skills on to others. The Welsh Labour Government remains committed to a long-term programme of life-long learning and adult education, tackling educational inequalities and providing learning opportunities to people like John throughout life.

By putting lifelong learning into law, the Welsh Government works in partnership with our local authorities and providers to ensure public resources are focussed towards helping those in greatest need. With this support in place to combat financial and educational barriers, it is hoped more people can also feel confident to pursue a complete career change if they wanted.

Learning is a lifelong activity and it’s never too late to learn. Everyone deserves the opportunity to achieve their potential.

Make some enquiries and look what’s available for you. Further information on available financial support can also be found via the Welsh Government’s Working Wales website.