Return To Training And Education Later In Life

Mature Students

Before you start reading, I want to state that I have strong views on returning to education and training later in life. It is not my intention to convince you to re-train or start a new study program because I know nothing about you. However, research suggests that over one-third of professionals will undergo a significant career change at some point in their lives for various reasons. Alternatively, some decide they want a career rather than just a job and feel the need to do something about it. My intention is for you to realize you could if you want to. The more you learn, the more choices you have. So why not consider giving yourself the luxury of having the option of becoming a mature student and finding success?

What Will It Be Like?

I have taught in Higher Education for over 25 years (after a previous career as a hospitality business manager) in various top UK universities. I am also involved in quality systems and academic standards. I feel confident that should you think about returning to education later in life, you will discover that if you return to education and training later in life, it is now a different experience. There are more accountability and emphasis on results now, and achievement rates are more important than ever before.

Mature Student Meaning

My greatest satisfaction is derived from working with “non-traditional” students. The traditional student is viewed as 18 years old with 3 A-Levels, English, setting off to university supported by the Bank of Mum and Dad. The “non-traditional” student is everyone else, including you! In recent times, one of my most enjoyable teaching experiences was teaching Business Management to a 60-year-old Pastor from Nigeria who worked in South London. Every day he was sat, ready, in the front row of the lecture theatre, wearing his finest pin-stripe suit, collar, and tie, polished shoes, pen, and paper (after three months a laptop) at the ready. He was consistent, hardworking, responsive, engaging, curious, and had a huge desire to learn and a wonderful smile. Happy days; I wish all my students were like that.

Why Mature Students Make Better Learners

I use the term “student” but mean “individuals.” The majority of individuals I work with within different educational institutions range from 24-60, and each group can hold 20 different nationalities and cultures. When I first meet them, I ask how long since they have sat in a classroom. Some will answer five years, some ten, and others for more than 20 years. The point is that they are all willing to experience severe upheaval in their lives, leave their comfort zone, and run the risk of failure. That takes courage, determination, ambition, and honesty; and deserves my respect.

Mature Student Advice

I take the standpoint that if someone is willing to go through that level of upheaval, the very least I can do is everything in my power to help them. I am not there to trip them up or to make life difficult or embarrass them. Instead, I am a facilitator, an educator, a constructive friend, a guide, and someone to lean on. A professor’s role is not to look down or belittle you but help understand processes and theories and apply them to a practical situation. You will learn industry knowledge that will enable you to identify problems, devise solutions, and think of alternative answers rather than general knowledge. Every subject will be another step in the right direction of your chosen path.

Mature Student Success

In my experience, this is what you will experience if you decide to return to training or education later in life. Yes, it is scary to begin, but after one month, two months, or the first submission of work for an assessment, it becomes the new normal way of life and, therefore, easier. You will feel like you are on the edge of a cliff but can soar above the clouds.