Octogenarians seize opportunity to embark on part-time courses at Hopwood

Hopwood Hall College is proving that there’s no age limit on education as it welcomes a growing number of learners who are octogenarians.

A trend is showing that more and more people aged 80+ are seizing the opportunity to complete free part-time courses at the college – including a great-grandfather!

Rafael Calandou was amongst the retirees who gained valuable skills when he embarked on a flexible course at the college in September 2019.

The Portuguese native – who now lives in Rochdale – boosted his understanding of modern technology when he enrolled to study ICT.

He’s now primed to keep up with his growing family, which includes seven grandsons and a great-grandson.

Meanwhile, 81-year-old Brigitte Masny had different motivations when she took up a course in Functional Skills English.

Born in Germany, Brigitte moved to Rochdale in 1964 after marrying her husband Harry.

Harry sadly died three years ago and the former dental nurse found that she had begun to lose confidence as a result of his passing.

The part-time course provided Brigitte with the perfect opportunity to boost her self-esteem, meet new people and communicate better with her friends and family.

Hopwood Hall – which has campuses in both Middleton and Rochdale – is now encouraging other octogenarians to follow these learners’ lead and enrol on a free* part-time course.

The college recently released its newest adult course guide, which is packed with opportunities to gain handy skills in a wide variety of fields.

Just some of the pathways to choose from include construction, computer science, health, beauty, business, art, and animal management. 

*Subject to eligibility criteria.

Julia Heap, Principal and CEO of Hopwood Hall College, said: 

“We’re thrilled that lifelong learning is thriving at Hopwood Hall College. 

“Rafael and Brigitte are excellent examples that you’re never too old to go back into education and gain life-changing new skills.

“I’d love to encourage others to follow in their footsteps – whether you’re 19 or 99! There’s no telling what doors these qualifications can open for you.”

Rafael Calandou said: 

“My advice to others is to never stop learning. We need to improve our knowledge at all moments because with knowledge we are able to do a lot of things.

“It was a pleasure to find out there were courses in the area that I could do. It ended up being a very special experience for me.”

Brigitte Masny said: 

“It took a bit of courage for me to go but everyone was so nice and so helpful. 

“The course gave me my confidence back and my children were amazed. 

“It was a huge bonus that I didn’t have to pay for it!”


Middleton Campus
Rochdale Road, Middleton
Manchester, M24 6XH
0161 643 7560
Rochdale Campus
St. Mary’s Gate
Rochdale, OL12 6RY
01706 345 346