Article: Why “Adult learning” is Good for Us

Why “Adult learning” is Good for Us

Ted Wilkinson has wise advice about learning as adults after four decades working with Northern Beaches & Mosman College.

“I've always believed in good adult education.” muses Ted Wilkinson. "It leads to a healthy economy and people need to constantly update their skills. I’ve seen lives transformed through this college to be honest."

Ted should know. He’s witnessed it all during the almost 40 years he’s been involved in Northern Beaches & Mosman College (NBMC) and is now a board member. He started in 1983, juggling a night job as college coordinator with a day job as a primary school teacher."

“I've really seen the college grow from a collection of small evening colleges to the professional institution it is today.” says Ted with pride, referring to the outstanding education awards, the 3000+ students per year and the college’s RTO status (meaning qualifications are nationally recognised). “Things were really different back then,” he chuckles. “It was run out of primary schools with people sitting in these tiny primary school chairs and we'd run about 60 courses a term. Despite this, people had an absolute hoot. People came in because they wanted to, investing in themselves. Back then, of course, computers were just coming in so everybody wanted to learn how to use them. Our typing courses were very popular as well… but we also ran a lot of courses with colour such as ballroom dancing, languages and cooking. We even ran a cooking class designed just for divorced blokes.”

“There is also no doubt that being 'Not-for-Profit' has made us who we are today.” he passionately adds. "Instead of worrying about shareholders returns etc. etc.… we plough all the profits into newer, better, updated courses. It means we can be fast and flexible as well as affordable. Sometimes a course will be suggested by some bright spark of a student or trainer and it will be up and running by next term. We’re not scared of change, we want to be brave and relevant and move with the times."

"I still believe a face to face course is the best way to learn. You actually turn up to class because you’ve made that external commitment and the social connections you see forming are sometimes just as important as the content.

"Great trainers make all the difference. You know those survey things at the end of the course? The first thing we do is flick straight to the feedback on the trainer. They should be kind, fun, industry – experienced, enthusiastic and of course love what they do."

“People are usually very surprised to learn government funding could cover their course. It sounds too good to be true that your course could be paid for. However, I've learnt over the years that the government does WANT to help by providing funding, does WANT your business to succeed, does WANT you to upskill. My advice is to check on the college website to find out more about eligibility.”

“Who is Ted the person?”

Gosh, the best way to describe me is that I am organised and I never like to sit still. My leisure time is split between travelling, grandkids, being golf club captain and home handyman jobs. I’ve got a saying for anyone who claims they’re a bit past it;

'Don’t lie down for too long, because they might just put a lid on you.'

It’s true. We should all be trying new things no matter what our age is. I mean hey... the worst that could happen is ... you might just learn something !!"

Courses may be subsidised by the NSW government

RTO ID 90113

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