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Byron Shire
February 27, 2021

Lifelong learning in challenging times

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Byron College’s Richard Vinycomb and Adult Learning Australia CEO Sally Thompson before the three-day national conference.

Story & photo Eve Jeffery

As winners of the 2011 national Adult Learning Innovative Program Award, last week the Byron Region Community College welcomed educators from all over the country when they hosted the 52nd Annual ALA (Adult Learning Australia) Conference.

The theme for this year’s event was community resilience and its relationship to lifelong learning. This conference explores ways that lifelong learning nurtures this resilience in the face of challenging times.

CEO for Adult Learning Australia, Sally Thompson, said that the main aim for this year’s conference is to explore the relationship between learning and resilience. ‘What we know is that resilience and the capacity to learn and relearn skills are the important 21st century competencies’, she said. ‘These things are going to become essential because we don’t know what the technical capabilities of tomorrow will look like and we don’t know what the jobs of tomorrow will look like.

‘All that we do know is that they will be new and they will be different and will require new skills, so what this conference is exploring is what is the core skill that people will need and we think it is the ability to be resilient and to be able to adapt and reinvent yourself on the basis of need opportunities that arise.’

Workshop and seminars over the three days included discussion about some key international trends in building innovative learning cities as resilient sustainable communities of opportunity, literacy and sustainability as well as building resilience in a professional services community.

Sally says that basically old dogs are essentially going to have to learn new tricks. ‘One of the messages we have is that the days when people trained or educated themselves once, got into the workforce and expected that it would be enough to last them through a lifetime are just gone. These days people’s jobs change significantly because of advances in technology and because of the amount of movement, choices and freedom in job choice.

‘The workforce is going to have to be much more resilient to cope with these issues.’

For more information, visit the Byron College website: www.byroncollege.org.au


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With the housing crisis worsening in Ballina and across the Northern Rivers, councillors agreed that something had to be done about the problem at their meeting yesterday.

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The redevelopment works commenced in late 2016 and the final stage is now getting underway to complete the Lismore Base Hospital refurbishment.