When do Australians learn skills for personal interest?

When do Australians learn skills for personal interest?

Further learning can be formal as much as informal. Community groups gather to develop skills for work or leisure. Opportunities allow new personal and professional growth. Yet many Australians see obstacles which prevent such progress. The Australian Bureau of Statistics researched the learning habits of Australians in 2013.

The ABS revealed who does what further learning, when publishing survey results in 2013.  4234.0 – Work-Related Training and Adult Learning, Australia, Apr 2013 reveals all the details. Newly created infographics show key trends from a few years ago.


Australians do indeed learn new skills purely out of personal interest. The top age is not as expected. We may have more free choice and resources later in life, having moved out of home and worked. Yet those are not the stages of life when

When do the most Australians try new skills for fun? They are teenagers. Respondents aged 15-19 had the most people participating in skill boosting simply for the personal interest and enjoyment.

One explanation could be the life balance afforded to this age group. Teens do not have the professional development commitments which young adults and middle aged workers could experience. Adolescents may also experiment with more new skills in searches for their identities.

Although these motivations, and others, do not fully fall during later years. Young and middle aged adults do still participate in some learning for personal interest. These are typically the times when many people focus on formal tertiary qualifications and then career development in paid full time employment.

This speculation is supported by the graph on barriers to participation. Full time workers are the most likely to say they are too time poor for informal learning.

There are slightly less informal learning participants in this demographic than the teen one. But there is only a slight difference. Practical skills are needed in the workplace as much as theoretical knowledge. This is one of the many benefits adults receive from informally continuously training.

Older citizens, aged 55 and above, have the second highest participation in informal learning. Later life stages can involve less time in full time employment. The spare time allows people to explore interests. There goes the myth that one cannot teach an old dog new tricks. Older wiser individuals are appearing enthusiastic to informally learn.

Australians have different informal learning needs at different life stages. Teens want to develop skills for personal interest. Young and middle aged adults worry about time balances. So they need efficient informal learning opportunities which save time. There is still a need, but with new delivery styles. Older individuals are extra keen to stretch their abilities. They have more time and are less worried about work life balance. All Aussies are interested in informal learning. Providers will be required to tailor informal educational programs for different demographics for greater success.


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