Although once seen simply as a second-chance opportunity for a few ambitious individuals, Adult Education has become a necessity in recent years, involving a large section of the work force. The knowledge and skills required in business and industry have increased dramatically with the advance of technology and world-wide communication, and most workers need on-going training in order to cope with the ever changing demands of their occupation. Employers recognize this, and most are eager to provide opportunities and financial assistance for the further education of their employees.
Some companies are able to arrange training sessions at the workplace itself, especially where this involves technology relating specifically to the company’s objectives. Factory output, for example, may require knowledge of sophisticated machinery or unique output procedures. More often, however, skill training involves general knowledge and application, relating to computer programs, communications, and advanced language development. Courses in these areas are usually offered as extension programs through secondary schools, colleges, and universities.
Education programs offered to adults differ significantly from those normally planned for children. Unlike children, adults can bring a considerable pool of knowledge and experience to a course which affects the way they absorb and apply new material. The influence of past learning and experience may help or hinder progress, but either way, it must be dealt with and incorporated into the new knowledge. Also, adults involved in upgrading or new training are usually working towards a specific goal or objective, and this will ensure high motivation – an important factor that can be difficult to inspire in children.
Many candidates for adult education programs are individuals who, for one reason or another, dropped out of regular high school programs. After some years in the work force, they are faced with the reality of low pay and poor opportunities for advancements, but by improving their level of general education and acquiring new skills, they can make significant improvements to their situations. Through evening courses or correspondence programs, they can prepare themselves to write GED tests as well as qualifying themselves for specific positions in business or industry. Most employers do not distinguish between qualifications obtained through normal educational channels and those acquired through extension courses. Again, motivation is the key, and employees who can see the enormous benefits of further education are likely to succeed in their ambitious endeavors.
Many adult education programs offered today are specifically geared to new immigrants and focus on the acquisition of language skills. English as a Second Language (ESL) is a necessity for newcomers, and many education jurisdictions offer ESL programs free of charge to those who need them. This has been a life-saving opportunity for many new immigrants who were unable to find work because of poor communication skills.
Registering for Adult Education programs has become the thing to do. Most people today are convinced that education is the key to success, and they are open to new ways of improving themselves and increasing their marketable value. The opportunities to do this are available more than ever before. Success-oriented workers will not hesitate to take advantage of them.