THE BLOG

You're Never Too Old to Learn a New Trick

18/06/2014 15:23 BST | Updated 20/01/2016 17:59 GMT

Everyone has a talent. You might just not know it yet. And as this week is Adult Learners' Week, surely now's the time to discover it?

As we celebrate adult learners, and the opportunities learning can lead to, we should all think about how we can continue to develop skills, and try something new.

The week itself is all about encouraging 'lifelong learning'. It's a phrase that gets thrown around a lot, but it can mean so many things.

If you're working, it means continuing to develop your skills so that you can be more effective in your role - or challenging what you know about skills so you can use them in a different way. It can even mean not being afraid to start all over again or potentially change career direction.

But on the flipside, it can be about trying out new things out of sheer curiosity - from making French pastries to riding a unicycle.

Exploring new opportunities

I've met so many amazing individuals through City & Guilds who have demonstrated this. For example, one of our Medal for Excellence winners this year, 48 year-old Patrick Raphael, decided that after years of driving a bus, his true calling in life is hairdressing.

He bravely quit his job and enrolled on a hairdressing course at The Manchester College. His sense of fulfilment is at an all-time high as he helps people feel great about themselves.

We saw a similar case with Wyn Sheryn, who won a City & Guilds Lion Award in 2012. He decided to retire at 52 as a music teacher. His true passion had always been carpentry, but it wasn't until he was in his 70s that he decided to pursue it. He now has his own workshop and specialises in restoring antique furniture.

It's never too late

It goes to show you're never too old to learn new tricks. At City & Guilds this week, we're running a range of lunchtime learning opportunities - from writing to coaching, social media to singing. I hope these sessions will not only develop people's skills, but inspire them to try new things and expand their talents.

I'm not saying that it has to be as drastic, or involve a career change, as seen through the likes of Patrick and Wyn. But are lots of little changes that can make a big difference to both your personal and professional lives.

As author Gail Sheehy said: 'If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living.' Isn't there something you've been meaning to try?