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Adult education is important and empowering regardless of age. It could be of special benefit to you too.

You can learn new skills and become more involved in your community. You could even retrain for a new job or advance your knowledge in a hobby that you now have time for in retirement.

It does not have to be formal education either (although our Further Education colleges offer some great paid courses). You can learn at your own speed and with people of you own age. 

The University of the Third Age (U3A) is an educational cooperative movement guaranteed to give all retired people a zest for life and a reason for getting up each morning, which has been active in Northern Ireland since 1989.   It recognises the skills and interests of Third Agers and allows them to share their skills and knowledge in a social atmosphere.

The Department for the Economy (DfE) is the government department responsible for promoting learning and skills, as well as preparing people for work. Their website provides links to further and higher education courses and provides information to help individuals acquire jobs, including self employment. 

Below is further information on how you can access this learning in later life.


It is never too late to learn and it need not be expensive. You should also check out your local community centre to see if they have any information on courses that would interest you. 

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U3A - University of the Third Age

U3As are self-help, self-managed, lifelong learning co-operatives for older people no longer in full time work. Each provides opportunities for their members to share learning experiences in a wide range of interest groups and to pursue learning not for qualifications, but for fun.

Find a local U3A

Northern ireland U3A website

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Studying in the UK

Studying in the UK is a website that provides information in respect of a large number of topics to help ensure that people who want to begin studying in the UK have as much information available to them as possible.

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Libraries NI

Libraries offer a variety of services including a number of outreach services to day centres, hospitals residential homes and sheltered dwellings as well as a housebound service and free internet access. For people with hearing or visual problems the library has talking newspapers, audio books and sub-titled videos.

For more information on services offered by the Library service or to find your local library check their website.

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Further Education Colleges

If you prefer structured study with an accreditation at the end of a course, then Northern Ireland's Colleges of Further Education would be for you. They have a massive range of professionally taught courses that come at a cost. At the end you could have an accredited and recognized qualification.

Then, university awaits if you have not already been.

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Universities offer numerous opportunities to take part-time courses:

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