6d - Adults as learners

 Adult learners
The term “Further Education” encompasses education and training that occurs after second-level schooling but is not part of the third-level system. Adults can take part in further education as part of lifelong education. See also module 10.

Adult education is not always adequately recognized in terms of visibility, priority policy and resources, despite the political emphasis of lifelong learning in recent years. The gap between the political debate and reality is evident.

Lifelong education is currently expanding and, therefore, we can expect an increasing number of adults, who will be involved in further or continuous education. In addition, there are many people, who are forced to change their occupation due to social conditions.

Find additional information:
  • TrainerGuide Module 10 “Lifelong Learning”
  • European Association for the Education of Adults - www.eaea.org/
  • International Council for Adult Education - www.icae2.org/
 Training adults

Adults are not the same as young people. Not even in the working place. They are in a very different life stage. Adults have a lot of experience that can be very useful on the job. On the other hand, young people can help them in overcoming obstacles that may be encountered; in particular, new technologies. The mission of the employer is to try to reconcile differences and benefit from them. 

 The trainer may be younger than the apprentice

In a situation, where the trainer is younger than the apprentices, misunderstandings may arise. Older persons may expect respect for age, while the younger expects respect as an expert in the field.  Good communication is important in these cases, so that differences can lead to positive results and situations.

 Special (financial) support for adult apprentices

Often, their social situation is the main reason that adults start a new education. They may have lost their jobs and are forced to find new employment, usually in different field.

In some countries (such as Slovenia), the employer can give apprentices a financial award for a good job, but they are not obligated to do so. You should consider that your organisation benefits from their work and whether it is possible to give them extra payment for this. Even free lunch in your canteen could be helpful.

 Family situation
Most of the adult apprentices have families. It is necessary to clarify this before the apprentice starts. If you and the apprentice are aware of the limitations on both sides, this will benefit your work together.
 Adults in youth education (together with young people)
You may end up with a group of apprentices consisting of different age groups. For your work process, it is necessary to ensure that the group will be able to work together despite age differences. You need to treat them all the same, but you also need to consider each apprentice as an individual.

6 - The apprentice's background