Education and Life-long Learning

Learning throughout the life-course promotes social inclusion and better health

There is a strong link between learning and better health, particularly in older people. The concept of life-long learning doesn't just mean obtaining employment-related qualifications, it also means promoting learning throughout the life course, for the well-being and enjoyment of all.

Participating in adult learning courses is a form of civic participation, and can lead on in turn to involvement in voluntary activities and larger social networks - all of which are associated with improved health. And the benefits are not limited to individuals: better health and increased participation in society means reduced healthcare costs and a greater contribution to society as a whole.

Levels of participation in education tend to decrease with age, though it is never too late to learn new skills and knowledge. This poses a challenge to policy makers, who need to ensure that opportunities to access, retrain and learn new skills are available to all throughout the life course.