Adult Education: The Affect on Unemployment


Around 40 percent of adult learners did not make use of any services within six months of completing their studies, as a new report on the range of adult education shows.

The report by adult education provider WEA also shows that almost a quarter of the unemployed found work after completing their course.

The report is only shared with Your71 percent of students who were unemployed when they started a WEA course in 2019 said the course helped improve the skills needed to do the job.

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More than 50 percent said the course increased their motivation to find work in the future, and 64 percent said they had a better understanding of job opportunities that match their skills, experience, and future aspirations.

In 2019-20, WEA supported around 39,000 adult learners, of whom more than 5,100 participated in the research.

How adult education can help fight unemployment

Simon Parkinson, WEA chairman, said, “With unemployment expected to hit 2.6 million this year and the communities in which we operate will be hardest hit, WEA is playing a critical role in building the skills and the Trust from those who are often furthest away from employment or most in need of learning and connection in order to add value to their lives.

“This report really shows the difference our teaching can make in creating aspiration, improving opportunities, and providing a lifeline for connection and support.”

Research released by the CBI last year found that nine out of ten adults will need retraining by 2030 and that an estimated £ 21 million will be needed to improve basic digital skills by 2030.

Nevertheless, the Institute for Financial Studies found that, in real terms, spending on adult education was almost two thirds lower than in 2003/04 and around 50 percent lower than in 2009/10.

In December 2020, the Commons Education Select Committee called for a revolution in adult education, recommending a community learning center in each city and individual learning accounts for all adults.

The leveling up agenda

Earlier this week the Further Education Trust for Leadership released a report, written by Sue Pember, Holex’s political director, outlining how adult education in adult education can add to the government’s agenda.

The report made 11 recommendations, including developing a government-wide plan to improve lifelong learning and strategies for basic skills such as ESOL, health and wellbeing, digital and skills retraining. It also requires that adult education providers have access to the Ministry of Education’s new capital fund and that an iBringing £ 5.2 billion into the system and a 10-year budget that “breaks the low skill cycle”.

Dame Ruth Silver, President of FETL, commented on the report: “While recent policy interventions, particularly the new Education Select Committee report on Lifelong Learning, have recognized ACE’s contribution, they also deplore the lack of evidence for adult education , their results, scope and impact.

“Bridging this gap and clearly demonstrating what adult education is doing in the community and how it benefits people and communities is critical to ensuring that providers are fully involved in the leveling-up agenda Government can make and understood that this contribution is appropriate. That is the aim of this report, and we hope it will not only help the government realize the potential of adult education, but also help providers understand the level-up agenda. “