Lifelong learning: Open up a world of opportunity


If there is one certainty to take from 2020, it has forced life to slow down on all levels – from cancelled communions and holidays, to the entire country shutting down. For lots of people, this has been a hugely difficult adjustment to make, but a sense of normalcy is creeping in. Unfortunately, for many people our feelings of isolation and worries about the future are now being accentuated as we head into longer nights.

However, the lack of obligations and distractions is presenting a new opportunity for each of us – the opportunity to learn something new.

Unbeknownst to us we have all individually had a huge year of learning. How many people knew what Zoom was in January 2020?

Now, as we head into winter, why not take this learning a step further, and consider enrolling in a lifelong learning course with Further Education and Training (FET)?

Lifelong learning means engaging in purposeful learning with the aim of improving knowledge, skills and competence. Lifelong learning is a key part of the further education and training sector in Ireland.

Around the country, there are Education and Training Boards, Community Education Centres and other education providers with a whole range of part-time, online and informal courses waiting to be explored.

There is a whole new world of learning to be discovered by enrolling in a course – from beekeeping, organic growing, and creative writing, to mindfulness and meditation, and digital skills.Whether you want to learn something for fun or personal interest, or to upskill or reskill to progress your career, lifelong learning has a myriad of options.

The benefits of enrolling in a FET course that might interest you is manifold. They are locally provided, and while they might be conducted online depending on restrictions, they are a wonderful opportunity to be transported to another world for a few hours where you learn something new and meet like-minded people.

Lifelong learning courses inspire us to look at the world around us – and also ask ourselves how we can help to make it better.

The beauty of lifelong learning courses is that they allow you to fit in your learning around your life – you can dip in and out of courses, take courses in bitesize chunks, and share your experiences and ideas with fellow learners.

Now – more than ever – we need that sense of connection and purpose.

Lifelong learning and further education and training can have a transformative impact our own lives, but also on the lives of our communities. It doesn’t matter if you have multiple degrees, or left school early, further education and training is for everyone.

There are lifelong learning opportunities in every community in Ireland. Find out about your local learning opportunities by getting in touch with your local Education and Training Board.  Find out more here:


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Senior Times also publishes Senior Times magazine and are producers of the SeniorTimes Podcasts. They are also organisers of the 50 Plus Expo’s run throughout the country

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