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Learning for Free in Retirement

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 21 Apr 2017 | comments*Discuss
Retirement Free Learning Skills

Education and learning doesn’t need to stop when retirement starts. One of the many bonuses of retirement is the extra time to try out new activities, and learning is a great way to keep the mind active and to socialise.

Making the Most of Retirement Learning Opportunities

Retirement is the perfect time to consider educational pursuits whether it is learning purely for pleasure or with an intended qualification in mind. With the amount of free classes being promoted through colleges, universities, and local councils it will not be too hard to find something of interest. There are classes designed specifically with the over 50s and retired people in mind. Those who are in later life and unemployed should also be able to find a range of classes that will not cost a penny.

Updating Computer Skills during Retirement

Computer skills are one of the most popular classes for retired people and in most cases learning these skills will be completely free. Local libraries do have set times throughout the week for retired people to either learn computing skills or update the skills they already have. Library staff will teach retired people on a one to one basis, and this service is completely free of charge. The plus point of learning skills such as the internet is that it can lead on to other free learning applications. There is a huge range of free learning resources available on the internet if you know where to look.

Taking the Online Approach to Learning

Finding free educational courses online is not difficult. In fact online learning is now one of the most popular ways to learn for retired people. Educational websites such as The Third Age have a diverse list of courses available including creative writing, Italian art, and digital imaging. These online courses are specifically designed for those in later life who are unemployed and are looking to learn some new skills.

Studying for Free With the Open University

The Open University is one of the most popular online educational resources. For those aged 50 and over there are a huge number of courses that are entirely free. There are literally hundreds of different courses available including language courses, IT and computing skills, and science and nature.

Many of these skills can be put to good use for those considering working part-time during retirement. Using tools such as video conferencing means that online study groups with class mates can be part of the learning experience.

Starting From Scratch with Access Courses

Retired people who want to be part of a real class room setting but would like a taster first can enrol for access courses. Access courses are available through colleges and universities, usually last for a year, and in most cases are free for retired people. These courses are designed to give the basic skills and education qualifications that can be used to then pursue courses at universities. Access courses are a great starting point as a pathway into higher education, and in only a few years time could lead to degree qualification.

Help with Educational Funding For the Retired

Not all educational courses are free and this fact can deter a lot of people from taking the opportunity to learn. However, there are a number of different funding options available for those over 50. Adult financial learning awards, bursaries, and grants may be available to help with fees and course materials depending on the course and learning institute. Those who have never taken any form of educational course through a university or college may also be able to obtain a great deal of financial assistance.

Where to Find Help With Educational Courses and Funding

Retired people and those over 50 have a number of different resources when it comes to finding information on education and funding. Agencies such as SAGA, Help the Aged, and Age Concern will all supply information on free and subsidised educational courses. Local libraries are one of the best places to obtain information on educational matters. Library staff are trained in providing advice and support when it comes to educational classes in the local area. A quick phone call to a local college or university to arrange an appointment with an advisor will also be the quickest way to that first step on the learning path.

The great thing about learning is there is no knowing where it will take you. Learning new skills will always be beneficial and can lead on to exciting new opportunities. Many retired people have gone on to obtain degree qualifications and have actually found new careers in later life. Retirement can open up a whole new world when it comes to learning and professional development.

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[Add a Comment]
I am a retired widow with just a basic pension and receive housing benefit towards my rent.I returned to England last year, having lived in France for 16 years.I love the French language, and enjoy communicating with French people.I know I make many mistakes, and have a yearning to improve. It would do so much for my confidence if I could maybe do a degree course in French.However, until talking to someone the other day, thought the fees would be way beyond my reach. It would be appreciated if you could advise me further please as to whether it would be possible to pursue a dream.
Trish - 21-Apr-17 @ 8:28 AM
Law - Your Question:
Hi I wondered if there is a list of FREE courses available, my liberary had to be closed due to government cuts. I am retired from work and am mainly looking for creative courses like Lino cutting and pottery any info would be really appreciated.

Our Response:
We don't know which area you're living in so can't give you specific examples, but if you ask at your local council, your local community centre and any other organisations like colleges, craft shops etc you should be able to find out.
RetirementExpert - 24-Mar-17 @ 12:25 PM
Hi I wondered if there is a list of FREE courses available, my liberary had to be closed due to government cuts. I am retired from work and am mainly looking for creative courses like Lino cutting and pottery any info would be really appreciated.
Law - 21-Mar-17 @ 4:07 PM
My husband is retired and we have been given a laptop.He struggles using it and would be grateful if you could advise on any lessons he could attend in the Witney area.
Jill - 25-Feb-17 @ 6:26 PM
I would like to start a computer course to update my computer skill to enable me to use my computer to its full capacity. I am not a beginner but need to be more computer savvy. I live in Nottingham and would like a place near me to attend the course.
glenge - 18-Jan-17 @ 5:03 PM
Hi there.my problem is I have work on a caravan site for 7 years grass cutting & tractor driving. As of last year I need a ticket to use machinery I only work a short season. So the company are reluctant to pay.can you help a disgruntled oaps. Regards trev.
Firgo - 30-Dec-16 @ 3:10 PM
Could you please tell me if you have any free or discounted history courses please. I am retired. Many thanks
Ray - 1-Aug-16 @ 5:01 PM
Question about this service that is offered. Interested in gaining college education degree. Am retired now 1 year.
Rick - 3-Feb-16 @ 4:48 PM
i would be so glad if you cover me for English course
Nastaran - 19-Apr-15 @ 4:50 AM
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