Age doesn’t matter at university - MP Willetts

Minister for Universities and Science and Havant MP David Willetts
Minister for Universities and Science and Havant MP David Willetts
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Havant MP David Willetts says older people should go back to university so they can improve their skills.

The minister for higher education has suggested that over-60s who take extra courses to keep their skills up to date will be able to stay in work for longer.

He said that more older people should apply to go to university later on in their life.

‘There is certainly a pressure for continuing to get retrained and upskilled, he said. ‘Higher education has an economic benefit in that if you stay up to date with knowledge and skills you are more employable.

‘Education is such a good thing it is not reserved for younger people.

‘There will be people of all ages who will want to study.

‘There is great value in lifelong learning.’

Under previous rules, students in England were eligible for a loan to cover tuition fees only if they were under 54.

But now there are no age limits on tuition loans since they were introduced in 2007.

‘There was a lot of criticism about the ageism of all this,’ Mr Willetts added.

‘The regime now is there is no age limit on fee loans.

‘There is nothing stopping older people applying for university.

‘If they can benefit from it, they should have that opportunity.

‘If people need it in order to keep up to date with changes in their jobs, that is an opportunity they are going to take.’

Councillor Rob Wood, cabinet member for children and education at Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘The fact that education is for everybody is a good thing.

‘Many people will have worked all their life and not everyone had the opportunity to be fulfilled.

‘There is more onus on the older generation to help the younger generation and help take the burden from parents.

‘The more knowledgeable they are and the better they are able to share their experience, it can only work out very well.

‘Education is such an important thing with what it says about society, that we need to encourage it at all levels to put it at the heart of what we do.’