Press release – update on Getting of Wisdom

PRESS RELEASE 25 January 2017

The Getting of Wisdom: Focus on later life learning in Victoria


International experts will converge in Victoria next month to share expertise and learn from Australia’s experience of working with older learners.

The Getting of Wisdom conference will be held from 12–18 February and has attracted leading researchers in later life learning from 10 countries including the UK, Sweden, Portugal, and Ireland.

Conference organiser Adjunct Professor Barry Golding from Federation University Australia said that, ‘Australia and Victoria in particular has a great reputation for developing learning initiatives to keep people independent and well in later life. This conference is a great opportunity to learn from each other.’

Leading expert Professor Bernard Schmidt-Hertha from University of Tübingen in Germany said ‘We are looking forward to learning about how similar and different life is for older people “down under”. Europeans are particularly interested in the ways that Indigenous learning and the community Men’s Sheds model have shaped what is done in later life learning in both Australia and New Zealand.’

Delegates will gather in both Ballarat and Melbourne to share research and experiences with a diverse range of community organisations that work with people in later life. After the Melbourne leg, delegates will continue on to New Zealand for the completion of the conference and site visits.

Jenny Macaffer, CEO of conference sponsor Adult Learning Australia said the conference is timely given global trends. ‘It’s an opportunity to share information about learning initiatives that are relevant to countries like ours that have an ageing population.’

Victorian field visits will enable participants to see firsthand programs such Broadband for Seniors kiosks where older Australians develop their digital literacy skills and Men’s Sheds where older men can gather to share skills and learn in an informal environment.

Our research has shown that older Australians who continue to learn — whether it’s through formal or informal education — are more independent, socially connected and confident. Later life learning helps people remain productive in the workforce, improves health and wellbeing, and reduces feelings of isolation and loneliness.

The conference and study tour is hosted by Australian and New Zealand peak bodies for adult and community education, Adult Learning Australia (ALA) and ACE Aotearoa in New Zealand and European-based network on Education and Learning of Older Adults (ELOA).

On February 14 the City of Ballarat will host a civic reception for delegates.

Registration is open and the full conference program is available here.

Further information: Professor (Adjunct) Barry Golding, AM,

Supported by: Adult Learning Australia (ALA), Federation University Australia, ACE Aotearoa & ELOA (Education & Learning by Older Adults) Network of ESREA (European Society for Research into the Education of Adults) and the Victorian government’s Adult, Community & Further Education (ACFE) Board.

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