It is never too late or too early to start learning, Princess Anne has said.
The Princess Royal, speaking today at the 25th anniversary of the Learning and Work Institute’s Festival of Learning at City Lit in London, said that adult education was good for people's health, self-esteem and employability, and observed that there is now a more widespread understanding of its benefits.
Princess Anne, who is a patron of the Learning and Work Institute, said: “I’ve been through several evolutions in terms of organisation in supporting adult learners and it goes a long way back...but it is important that since that period of time there are many more opportunities, there are many more access points, for which to be able to get that message across...Lifelong learning is probably understood as meaning exactly that: it is lifelong, it is never too late – it isn’t really too early to start, either.”
She added: “Adult learning plays a really vital role in society...it’s good for people, it’s good for your health, self-esteem and if you want more employability. None of those will be the same for individuals. There will always be different reasons for doing it, but I think [that] health and self-esteem is probably common to most people who take part in that learning process.”
‘The power of learning’
Also speaking at the event, Stephen Evans, chief executive of the Learning and Work Institute, said that learning had the power to tackle major social issues such as employment, improving citizenship and “bringing families and societies together”.
Mr Evans said: “There’s no such thing as an easy answer to any of the challenges that we face in our lives or as a country. But, actually, learning can be a really big part of tackling most of the challenges we face today.
"We know the power of learning to help improve health and wellbeing, we know the power of learning to help people with their jobs and with their careers, we know the power of learning to bring families and societies together. We know the impact of learning on citizenship...so I think that the Festival of Learning has made a real contribution to celebrating the very best in adult learning."
Photo credit: University of the West of Scotland