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29 August 2003

Gold medal-winning walker Nathan Deakes will put his keyboard finger skills to the test in Canberra this Monday to help launch a national lifelong learning website.

The Learning Communities Catalyst website will give business, government and learning communities across Australia a central point for accessing the information and tools they need to become more involved in lifelong learning.

'Learning is no longer seen as something you do only at school or university,' says David Arnold, Schools Manager at the National Museum of Australia. 'It's a state of mind that sees learning as a life-long process, as much to do with the totality of life experiences as with formal education. Places like museums create programs that have appeal to both formal and informal styles of learning for people of all ages.'

Australian National Training Authority's new chief executive officer Janina Gawler will join Nathan for the first online forum at the National Museum of Australia's SAS Visions Theatre at 12.30pm on Monday, 1 September.

The launch of the website precedes a lifelong learning forum with guest Dr David McNulty, one of Britain's leading thinkers on making learning and education relevant to all.

Dr McNulty will assess Australia's progress in setting up lifelong learning networks and speak about the importance of placing the learner at the centre of the process, with a convergence between academic, vocational and lifelong learning.

Other panellists include Employment, Workplace Relations and Education Legislation Committee chairman Dr John Tierney; Shadow Employment and Training Minister Anthony Albanese; and Dr Jim Cavaye, an educator with more than 20 years experience working with rural and regional communities.

The Learning Communities Catalyst is a collaboration between Adult Learning Australia. the national peak body representing adult learning providers around the country and, a national education and training ICT agency. The Australian Local Government Association and Australian Learning Communities Network are also involved in developing the website.

For more information please contact Adult Learning Australia Executive Director Francesca Beddie on 0418 645 181.

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