Former sprint and hurdling athlete, Colin Jackson, has partnered with Welsh Government and Learning and Work Institute to urge people across Wales to never stop learning.
The retired athlete, who has turned his hand to a number of different careers and pursuits since retiring in 2003, is challenging everyone over the age of 18 in Wales to learn something new this year for Adult Learners’ Week.
As someone who has changed jobs later in life, Colin understands the benefits of learning and picking up new skills that can offer a second chance at a new career or the opportunity to discover a new passion.
He said “As an athlete you always know there’s a time limit on your career. For me, after I retired from sport, I genuinely didn’t know what to do. I was so anxious, because I knew there was a lot of my life left but I didn’t know what to do with it.
“I realised quickly that I was going to have to upskill myself, learn new things and take myself out of my comfort zone if I wanted to make a future for myself. Learning these new skills as an adult gave me a second chance and allowed me to build a new career after retirement.”
Adult Learners’ Week is a celebration of learning – whatever your age. It takes place this year from 17-23rd October with in-person taster courses and online sessions running throughout October to inspire people across Wales to discover a new passion or develop their skills.
Advice and information is available via Working Wales, as well as locally, to help people continue learning throughout their lives – from gaining formal qualifications or learning at work to joining online sessions at home or learning something new for fun.
Colin continued: “Everything I’ve done since I retired, all the skills I’ve learned – from becoming an author and learning Welsh, to taking part in Strictly Come Dancing – I’ve had to learn later in life.
“I’d never danced before, but I gave it a go, challenged myself and I ended up being quite successful at it. Learning Welsh for Iaith ar Daith was one of the most interesting and frustrating experiences of my life because I couldn’t communicate as I wanted to.
“But all these experiences pushed me to keep trying, keep learning. And that’s why I’m proud to be an ambassador for Adult Learners’ Week, because it’s so important that we keep challenging ourselves and never stop learning new things.
“So go on, why not try something new this Adult Learners’ Week? Find out what you’re capable of.”
Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, said: “Adult Learners’ Week is our annual reminder that there’s no age limit on learning. We can all benefit from continuing to learn and develop our skills throughout our lives. Whatever your interests or qualifications, learning can offer a second chance to try something different and discover a new passion or set you on the path to a new job. So, this Adult Learners’ Week, we’re challenging people across Wales to try one of the free taster sessions, take up a course and head to Working Wales to find out more about the support available to you.”
To find out what’s going on during Adult Learners’ Week, and for personalised advice on your own learning options and support available, get in touch with Working Wales on 0800 028 4844 or search www.workingwales.gov.wales.