Educational opportunities

Education can continue at any age. When you are older, and especially if you are retired, you may have free time that you want to spend learning new skills. There are many opportunities for community-based education, tertiary education, and other continued education as an adult.

Community education

Many communities have locally run courses and classes on a variety of topics, including the arts, languages, music, personal development, and specialist subjects. You may be able to find a local community education centre or course on the ACE Place directory.


The University of the Third Age is an organisation aimed at giving education opportunities to retired people. U3A have local branches that hold regular main meetings with key speakers in different fields each time, and special interest groups that may meet more frequently to discuss, learn, and practice their special interest. You can find your local U3A here.

Tertiary education

Most tertiary education providers such as universities or polytechnics are welcoming to older learners. Some universities offer short courses and creative workshops as well as formal degrees. Many tertiary education centres will also offer support for people who need help improving study and writing skills during their study. For more information, check with the tertiary education provider you are interested in.


SeniorNet is aimed at introducing computer skills to older people. They offer a variety of basic to advanced computer courses. SeniorNet runs on a membership system, with a fee of $20 per member or $30 for two people living at the same address. Members in some areas may also get discounts with affiliated supporters by showing their membership cards. You can find out more about SeniorNet and the skills they can teach you on their website.

Websites of interest

  • You can find information on tertiary education providers and available courses on Which Couse Where? and Careers NZ
  • Information on funding tertiary study can be found on StudyLink
  • More information on adult and community learning can be found here
  • Schools that offer adult and community education can be found here