Community Scoop

Learn Now Me ako inaianei

elp_year_lifelong_learning_20_finalsmallNicola Sutton

Chief Executive | English Language Partners New Zealand

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing you can do is keep your mind working.” Henry Ford

2020 is the Year of Lifelong Learning. According to Wikipedia, lifelong learning is the ongoing, voluntary and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons.  It not only enhances social inclusion, active citizenship, and personal development, but also self-sustainability, competitiveness and employability.

Deliberate learning takes place in all manner of ways with technology providing options for those who miss out due to the availability of programmes. The human desire to share skills and knowledge has given rise to a plethora of You Tube videos and online learning for those with immediate learning needs or who want to learn in their own time at home. One of my sons constantly amazes me with his ‘just in time’ attainment of new skills and knowledge. It has allowed him to carry out complex car repairs, plan and plant an orchard, and replace the rotten floor in the old farmhouse.

For others, taking a class with a skilled teacher and a group of peers creates an opportunity to acquire new skills and knowledge while connecting socially. This is important for building community and addressing loneliness and isolation. With an aging population, the value of lifelong learning should be recognised as a worthwhile means for supporting independent living and better wellbeing.

Community organisations frequently include learning as a tool for improving the lives of their clients. For example, budget services teach and coach people in financial management, aged care services use exercise programmes and crafts, and family services deliver parenting classes. This year your community organisation could take up the call to action Me ako inaianei – Learn Now by encouraging and supporting clients, staff, and volunteers to deliberately take up a new learning opportunity.

For a FREE A2 multilingual poster encouraging people to LEARN NOW email English Language Partners at . Free postage for folded posters or $10 p&p for unfolded posters.

The 5 key messages for this year are:

  • Lifelong learning is one of four pillars identified as vital for wellbeing and positive ageing.
  • Lifelong learning reduces health and social costs.
  • Lifelong learning empowers adults by giving them the knowledge and skills to better their lives, their families and communities.
  • Intergenerational learning where generations learn and study together to gain skills, values and knowledge, builds social cohesion.
  • Me ako inaianei – Learn Now.

Learn more about the Year of Lifelong Learning at


This blog has been contributed by a member of the ComVoices network. The views presented here are not necessarily those of ComVoices.

ComVoices is a Wellington based network of national community and voluntary sector organisations. It was established so that sector organisations would have a more powerful voice at Government level and in the community.

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