Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken (1915)
It is clear from EU Commission and labour market forecasts that citizens can expect to change career direction 3 to 4 times during life. Despite being an opportunity at the macro-economic level, most individuals will view this as a threat. Therefore we need to empower individuals with life and career change competences, enabling transformation from threat to open opportunity.
This project, with 2012 the EU Year of Active Ageing, will investigate and propose an optimum way to face the challenges presented by an ageing population within the new globalised economy, addressing two main priorities: Employment and Engagement in volunteering and membership.
CONDITIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT
As adult education professionals, we believe Lifelong Learning can and should be an enabler for:
• knowledge transfer,
• personal autonomy,
• active citizenship.
The choice of learning for adults must be:
• fit for purpose;
• attractive for and accessible to adult learners;
• motivated by personal interest, work or enjoyment;
• encourage exploration and reflection.
This will mean they can best contribute ‘social capital’ as well as ‘human capital’ through enhanced independence and well-being.
This project targets men and women aged over 40 with broken career paths, a cohort projected to make up a third of the population in developed countries as the 60 plus age group by 2025 (OECD, 2010). This group has the potential to contribute to their respective economies, be significant consumers, service users and potential actors for change, participating in learning, for up to three further decades. Therefore, the support provided through this project will have an increasing resonance.
Life Change for the better must mean encouraging innovation, imagination and creativity, taking into account contemporary thinking on sustainable well-being, health and quality of life. With a shared need to address these challenges, we will collectively design, develop and disseminate a relevant and transferable andragogy for Life Change which integrates entrepreneurial spirit with learning and citizenship in later life.
The key product is Action Learning Manual “Pointing in Your Direction”. Target groups learn, reflect and contribute within ‘Teams’ then ‘exchanges’ – a creative approach focusing on what such adults actually need.
Our aspirations are to:
- shift the paradigm from negativity about the future towards finding emancipation by fresh thinking through reflection;
- create new practice by bespoke life-change opportunities for adults 40+;
- bring support to accessible, relevant community locations;
- emphasise individual, personalised solutions as the subject for, not the object of, change;
- provide both formal and informal learning;
- empower to create direction not just to use services.
At the core of the process is ‘Perspective Transformation and Critical Reflection’, focusing on the personal, individual and customised with five phases:
- Habitual Practice – addressing dilemmas of forced change
- Trigger Event – exposing to new ideas
- Transform Perspective – exploring and challenging assumptions
- Emancipatory Learning – providing direction for life progression
- Reflect Critically – making sense of new values
Through this project for life change:
- target learners consider and make opportunities
- community learning facilitators reflect critically on how to direct the process
- others are able to use this methodology