Lifelong learning

Australians rely on ‘a little help from their friends’

A new report from National Seniors Australia has shown that when it comes to getting good advice in the ‘information age’, older people favour humans over going online.

The report, released this week, shows that while digital technology has revolutionised information delivery, older people making important decisions about retirement first turn to trusted health and financial professionals or family and friends.

Women outpace men in attaining higher qualifications

New figures show more Australians are attaining non-school qualifications and the number of women is growing at a faster rate than men.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said nearly two thirds of Australians aged between 20 and 64 now held a non-school qualification and since 2004, the proportion had risen from 56 per cent to 66 per cent.

The ABS’ Stephen Collett said the higher level of qualifications was also significant.

Gap year for seniors

Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt has floated the idea of seniors taking a ‘gap year’ in the lead-up to retirement.

He told the National Press Club in Canberra yesterday that there were more than six million Australians aged between 50 and 75 and many may want to transition to retirement through the seniors’ equivalent of the teenagers’ rite of passage ‘gap year’.

“This may involve part-time employment, changing careers, volunteer work or a combination of both,” Mr Wyatt said.

He said he was yet to consult cabinet on the issue.

U3A Online the first of its kind

If you like to study or to meet people with similar interests but cannot attend classes or meetings, the University of the Third Age (U3A) Online may be just what you are looking for.

Starting in Australia in 1998, U3A Online is an acknowledgement that although it is better to meet like-minded people face-to-face, some are isolated through distance, or through physical or social circumstances.

U3A Online President and National Seniors’ member Jean Walker said the online university was the first of its kind where all courses were conducted online.

Jobless seniors to get government help to retrain

Older unemployed Australians living in five regional and urban areas will be able to access government help to retrain from the middle of 2018.

Federal Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said the Career Transition Assistance Program would be trialled from July 2018 in Ballarat in Victoria, Somerset in Queensland, the NSW Central West, south Adelaide and north Perth.

Job seekers aged over 50 would be able to complete a short, intensive course that assessed their skills, looked at what jobs might suit them, and learn new techniques for searching for work.

Free courses to help understand and prevent dementia

Free online university courses are available to help understand and perhaps even prevent dementia.

The University of Tasmania's Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) build on the latest in international research on dementia.

No exams or assignments are required, but course participants are advised they need to set aside at least three hours a week for engagement and activities in the nine-week course.

Whales learn songs like humans do

Humpback whales learn songs in segments – like the verses of a human song – and can remix them, a university study has found.

The study showed whale songs appeared to be learnt a similar way to how humans acquired language skills or a bird learnt its warble.

“All the males in a population sing the same complex song, but the pattern of song changes with time, sometimes quite rapidly,” said researcher Professor Michael Noad of the University of Queensland.

Living longer, learning longer: Experiences, perceptions and intentions regarding learning, education and training among older Australians

Increased life expectancy combined with recent changes to government policy (e.g. eligibility for the Age Pension increasing to age 67 by 2023) will require many people to work past the traditional retirement age of 65 to financially support themselves. Additionally, it is anticipated that Australia's ageing population will have a significant impact on the workforce participation rate; as the ageing population retire, labour shortages will emerge. Predicted labour shortages can be reduced by encouraging and supporting older workers to work for longer than they do now.

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